Honenu to Police Commissioner: Dismiss the brutal officer

The resident; Photo credit: Honenu

Monday, June 26, 2023, 7:57 Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel wrote a letter to the Police Commissioner, Kobe Shabtai, demanding that he dismiss the police officer who assaulted a Yehuda and Shomron resident protesting the chaotic security situation on the roads. In a video clip, the police officer is seen roughly grabbing the resident’s beard and ripping it off.

Attorney Weisel described the incident in his letter: “After Shabbat, a demonstration was held at the entrance to Ateret in protest of the willful powerlessness that the security forces are showing in the face of rising terror while directing their resources and energy to the investigation of Yehuda and Shomron residents who are forced to respond to terror attacks and defend their own lives. Residents who came to Ateret protested the extreme and unprecedented decision of the Binyamin Brigade Commander, Colonel Eliav Elbaz to use a sort of collective punishment and impose a lockdown on the community. As part of the lockdown, a barrier was placed at the entrance to the community. Security forces stopped and/or delayed the flow of traffic for many hours. Nobody came or went without a meticulous security check. In the framework of the protest, several Yehuda and Shomron residents, among them the complainant, sat on the entry road to the community and blocked the movement of the police forces who for some reason chose to impound residents’ cars instead of directing their resources to the prevention of the increasing terror in their area.

“Suddenly, without any preliminary exchange of words, the police officer in question approached the complainant, extended his arm towards the complainant’s face, and violently pulled his beard in a humiliating manner. The complainant screamed in pain, but despite his screams, the officer not only continued to pull the beard but increased his strength and ripped the complainant’s beard from his face. The act was so brutal that within a split second, the complainant’s beard was torn out and remained in the officer’s hand. It seems that the result of pulling the beard did not surprise the officer, who threw the beard hair scornfully on the road and continued on his way as if nothing at all had happened.”

Attorney Weisel detailed the complainant’s injury: “The pain and suffering caused to a man when his hair is pulled, and all the more so his beard, need no explanation. The humiliation a religious man feels when he is degraded by having his beard – which has religious significance to him – pulled needs no explanation. Ripping a Jew’s beard from his face is a shocking sight reminiscent of dark periods in the history of the Jewish people. To remove all doubt, it should be emphasized that throughout the entire incident, the complainant never acted violently – not at all. His only fault for which he was ‘rewarded’ with this treatment was passively demonstrating by sitting on the road. The video clip of the incident speaks for itself and proves that the officer in question acted brutally, used illegal force, and caused pain and great humiliation to the complainant.”

Attorney Weisel demanded that Commissioner Shabtai immediately dismiss the violent officer: “This was a serious, insulting, humiliating, and unnecessary assault. The Police Commissioner has the authority to dismiss an officer if it is proven to his satisfaction that the officer was negligent or not fit to fulfill his duties. In the case before us, the video clip proves beyond all doubt that the officer in question acted illegally. An officer who allows himself to vent his anger on a passive protester and rip his beard off is not suitable to serve the State of Israel in a job that grants power and authority. In light of the above, the Police Commissioner must avail himself of the authority granted him by the Israel Police and dismiss the office in question,” concluded Attorney Weisel. In addition to his letter to the Police Commissioner, Attorney Weisel wrote a letter of complaint to the Police Investigation Unit concerning the brutal officer.

The assaulted demonstrator described the incident: “We came to protest the powerlessness of the security forces in the face of terror – rock attacks, Molotov cocktails, and murderous shootings. We passively demonstrated at the site by lying down on the road. A police officer grabbed me by the beard and tore it by force. I felt violated and humiliated by having a clearly Jewish symbol mercilessly ripped from me, beyond the sharp pain from the torn beard. I demand an investigation of the incident and penalization of the officer to the full extent of the law.”

Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel added, “The shocking assault is a reflection of the ‘ruah hamefaked’ [tone set by a commander] prevalent on the ground and the decision by the Binyamin Brigade Commander to not combat increasing Arab terror and instead to fight Yehuda and Shomron residents who dared to defend their lives.”

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