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Video of Kochav HaShahar incident reveal details

Sunday, May 3, 2015, 11:07 On April 16, a police detective disguised as an Arab shepherd and three Arab shepherds approached Kochav HaShahar in a staged incident. Five residents of Kochav HaShahar and other nearby communities were detained on suspicion of assaulting the group, however Honenu attorneys David HaLevi and Adi Kedar state that in the video filmed by the police the five detainees are not seen participating in the assault. The incident received extensive public criticism, including a letter sent by Knesset Member Yariv Levin to Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the Internal Security Minister, an announcement publicized by Kochav HaShahar’s secretariat and a demonstration held opposite the Sha’ar Binyamin Police Station. On Sunday, May 3, Honenu attorney David HaLevi filed a complaint with the Police Investigation Unit for threats by policemen to detainees, false testimony given by policemen and obstruction of justice by policemen and detectives who participated in the staged incident near Kochav HaShahar. In the complaint, HaLevi, who is representing three of the detainees in the case, details the conduct of the policemen, which directly influenced the possibility of filing an indictment against the detainees. The video was recorded with a chest-cam by a Yassam (Special Forces) policeman and is part of the investigatory material in the case. In the video a police detective by the name Ofer Revivo is seen threatening with his fist one of the detainees who sat handcuffed in a police car. When the policeman realized that he was filming the unacceptable behavior of the detective, he, according to the complaint, covered the camera and turned it off, in violation of the regulations, which require turning off the camera only at the completion of the operation and with a formal announcement. Additionally the detainee complained that several police detectives beat him before they put him in the police car. Several residents of Ma’aleh Shlomo, the neighborhood in which the detainee was detained, witnessed the detention and a police detective shoving the 9 and 11 year old children of one of the detainees who were with him in the car at the time of his detention. Additionally HaLevi pleads that the main evidence in the case has been tampered with. In a deliberation which took place on the supposed evidence in the case and the demand for the continued remand of the suspects, the Attorney General’s office noted that Detective Ophir Ushani, who disguised himself as an Arab during the incident, and on whose testimony the case is based, destroyed a scrap of paper on which he described the actions of the suspects in real time, immediately after the incident. Only after Ushani destroyed the note did he write a new report, in which some of the detainees are linked to the assault itself. “Mr. Ushani did not report that he destroyed the aforementioned scrap of paper and did not mention that fact at any time whatsoever. Only following a discussion initiated by the Attorney General’s office between an attorney from the Attorney General’s office and Detective Ushani did the destruction of the scrap of paper become known,” wrote HaLevi in the complaint and made it clear that in terms of evidence, without the testimony of Detective Ushani an indictment would not have been filed because the video which the police filmed of the incident clearly shows that the detainees did not participate in the assault. “Viewing the video, which documents the incident, shows that the testimony of Detective Ushani is false and is not in line with the video footage,” added HaLevi. “For example, Ushani in a new report which he composed writes that during the incident one of the detainees was seen holding a stick, however that does not correspond with what is seen in the video clip, in which it is possible to clearly discern the suspect as he is walking with his hands in his pockets and without a stick.” According to HaLevi, Detective Ushani describes how the suspect whom he incriminated threatened him with a civil suit for false detention and mentioned that he, the suspect, is a law student, “Which raises more than a doubt that the ‘certain’ identification and also the addition of a ‘stick’ made their appearance only after the threat by my client of a legal suit and/or alternatively because of the over-enthusiasm of Detective Ushani or of other investigators to create evidence which would enable filing an indictment.” “The police conduct was serious and necessitates thorough examination and the sooner the better,” stated HaLevi. “Examination of the evidence and especially the fact that the policeman who is the chief witness in the case destroyed the scrap of paper on which he had written the identification [of the suspects] in real time, a fact which only happened to be revealed by the Attorney General’s office, raises a serious concern of fabricating evidence and therefore the main testimony of the policeman on which the indictment is based on “made to order” testimony which was intended to form an artificial indictment. The aforementioned testimony is lacking all basis in reality as can be seen by examining the material from the investigation which was transferred to us. “Also we are once again witness to a show of severe and needless violence with absolutely no cause, during the detention of my clients, and also to the issuing of an ugly threat, which was caught by the camera lens of a policeman who hurried to turn it off and thereby tampered with the investigation. We expect that as soon as possible an examination and a thorough investigation will be conducted by the Police Investigation Unit and that the policemen involved with the incident will be brought to justice.”

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