Brutal policeman still not investigated, suit filed

For a selection of cases in which Honenu Attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount, please click here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022, 19:14 In early November, Temple Mount Police Commander Shai Pozmentir brutally detained a Jewish youth praying with his friends near Sha’ar HaShalshelet (Chain Gate), one of the gates to the Temple Mount. Commander Pozmentir beat the youth in the police station when he thought that the youth’s friends were no longer recording the incident. (See video clip below) Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel filed a suit for 25,000 NIS on behalf of the youth against Commander Pozmentir at the beginning of this week. The statement of claim is summarized below.

Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel described the basis for the suit: “A police officer brutally attacked a civilian whose only wish was to pray on the street in Jerusalem. The policeman attacked my client immediately after bringing him inside the walls of the police station, when he, the policeman, erroneously thought that he was no longer being filmed. This cynical use of police station walls as a refuge from incriminating documentation is outrageous.

“One would expect a shocking incident such as this to result in a series of denunciations and a thorough investigation. However, despite our repeated requests, the Police Investigation Unit chose to ignore the severity of the incident and did not even bother to reply to us. An authority that purports to be the gatekeeper against criminal police operations is expected to act decisively against shocking conduct such as this and not to be satisfied with a lethargic investigation that plods along slowly. We hope filing the suit will bring justice to light. And we hope that the court ruling will be a clear legal statement that there is no place in a country ruled by law for policemen who act as if they are above the law.

The statement of claim (summary):

The claimant and two of his friends were praying near Sha’ar HaShalshelet in Jerusalem. The defendant, accompanied by additional policemen, without providing any legal grounds or bothering to explain his actions, demanded that they stop praying and leave the site. The claimant was astonished by the inexplicable and offensive demand and insisted that the defendant explain how he was authorized to deprive him of his legal right to pray at the site. However, despite his repeated requests for an explanation, the defendant ignored him and started to shove the claimant and his friends away from the site. When the claimant repeated his request for an explanation, the defendant grabbed him by the shirt and humiliated him by pulling him to the Beit Eliyahu Police Station in front of all of the passers-by.

From the moment the claimant was brought to the Beit Eliyahu Police Station, the defendant erroneously thought that he was no longer being filmed because the gate was closed. The defendant threw the claimant to the floor and beat him. The injured claimant’s screams were heard in the adjacent alley, but the defendant did not pay any attention and continued the beating. The claimant suffered an open wound on his head, bruises on his entire body, bleeding, and strong pains. The injuries were so serious that when the other policemen at the station saw the claimant, they decided to transport him to the hospital before he was interrogated.

In light of the condition of his health and in light of the baseless charges attributed to him, his interrogation was scheduled for 6.11, three days after the incident, which indicates that he was absolutely not considered to pose the danger that one would expect from someone who was detained with such a show of force. The claimant was interrogated on suspicion of disturbing a policeman in the line of duty and conduct liable to disrupt public peace. These charges do not relate to violent conduct on his part and certainly not that which necessitates the use of force by policemen. The entire incident was documented on a video clip attached to the statement of claim. The video clip does not leave any room for doubt that it was a false, brutal, humiliating, and superfluous detention that was carried out with serious bodily injury and a violation of the claimant’s dignity. His basic rights were trampled.

It should be emphasized that the defendant chose to inflict most of the violence only after he had isolated the claimant from his friends and – he thought – their cameras, which he had noticed on the way to the police station. He waited for a window of opportunity to beat the claimant without concern that he would be documented by civilians. It is intolerable that an officer in the Israel Police would use the walls of a police facility as protection from recording evidence that could be used in a criminal trial and as a place of which he could take advantage for illegally exerting brutal force on detainees.

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