Bus driver assaulted passenger, police didn’t investigate

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher; Photo credit: Honenu

Monday, April 12, 2021, 8:52 After a case was closed without an investigation, Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher filed an appeal on behalf of the appellant with the Attorney General’s office to investigate and bring to trial an Arab Afikim bus driver who assaulted a passenger.
The assault occurred in September 2020, on the afternoon before Rosh HaShana. In the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem, Y., his wife, and their two-year-old son boarded Afikim Bus #422 to Bnei Brak. After the driver pulled away from the bus stop, the father, Y., discovered that his reloadable “Rav Kav” bus card was empty. Y. and his family were the only passengers on the bus. As Y. was trying to call the Afikim offices and find a solution to his predicament, the driver began to verbally abuse him: “You hareidim are thieves and extortionists and I’ll show you what’s what.”
Suddenly, 200 meters after the “Shmuel HaNavi” bus stop, “The driver stopped the bus, turned off the motor and yelled at the appellant, ‘You hareidim are thieves and extortionists. You don’t deserve air conditioning.’ The driver got out of the bus, closed the door on the appellant, his wife, and his son, trapping them on the bus without air conditioning.”
After several minutes the driver reboarded the bus, cursing Y., whose wife and son hurried off the bus. Y. followed them and as he was in the doorway of the bus, the driver suddenly kicked him in the back. “From the force of the kick the appellant was flung forward off of the bus. His hat was knocked off and destroyed, the trays of food and other objects he was holding fell to the floor and his suit was ripped. Additionally he suffered pain [from the kick].”
Y.’s wife called out to the driver for him to open the baggage compartment so that they could remove their belongings, and the toddler wailed miserably. When Y. realized that the driver intended to leave with their baggage, he stood in front of the bus in order stop him and called the police. “Notwithstanding, the driver began to drive towards the appellant, who saved himself from being run over by jumping to the side of the road at the last moment.”
The family was forced to travel by taxi to Bnei Brak in order to arrive before the onset of the holiday and to retrieve their baggage from the Afikim terminal.
On the morning after Rosh HaShana, Y. filed a complaint at the Lev HaBira Police Station in Jerusalem. Recently, he was surprised to receive an announcement from the crime victim notification system that the case had been closed without an investigation: “The circumstances of the incident are not suitable for opening an investigation. The incident is such that criminal proceedings are not a suitable framework for its inquiry.”
At the conclusion of the appeal, Bleicher emphasized that the incident was extremely serious: “A public bus driver assaulted [a passenger] in full view of his wife and infant son, trapped them on a bus and even attempted to run over [the passenger], while intentionally driving away with their personal possessions, leaving them on the side of the road empty-handed. … It is not clear how such a serious case was closed without an investigation.”
Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher: “The incident was extremely traumatic. My client said that he saw the hate in the driver’s eyes. It was easy for the driver to attack a man in front of his family, his infant son, and to remove them from the bus, leaving them by the side of the road, on the eve of a holiday. The driver drove off with their baggage and attempted to run over Y. This incident must not be ignored. Certainly a public transportation driver must be brought to trial for such an act and must not be allowed to continue at his job.”

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