Police sued for unjustified use of water cannon with “skunk”

Water cannon with “the skunk”, illustrative purposes only; Photo credit: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90

Monday, June 28, 2021, 9:01 Honenu recently filed a statement of claim on behalf of T., who is suing the Israeli Police for 30,000 NIS over unjustified use of a water cannon, with “the skunk”, a non-lethal, foul-smelling liquid used as a means of crowd control during protests. The claimant, T., stated that he was sitting at a bus stop, at Sacks Square in Jerusalem, waiting for the no. 55 bus to take him home, late at night approximately one month ago. On the same evening, demonstrations had been held following a worsening of the security situation in the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood of Jerusalem, but they had already been dispersed by the time T. was sprayed by the water cannon. (See here, here, and here for posts about recent Arab rioting in the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood.)
T. stated that as he and three other people were waiting at a bus stop, a police water cannon passed and sprayed a high-pressure stream of water at them even though they were merely waiting for a bus. The entire incident was recorded by a passer-by on his cell phone camera. In the video clip T. is seen taking a direct hit from the stream of reeking water, which greatly damaged the numerous possessions he had on him.
The statement of claim details the damage, which includes total destruction of his cell phone. As a consequence, the claimant lost important information: list of contacts’ phone numbers, video clips, and photographs. T. said that he went to three cell phone stores and none of them were able to repair his phone, so he was forced to purchase a replacement.
The claimant was also carrying several gifts that he had bought and a suitcase full of clothes. The suitcase was completely damaged and the clothes the claimant was wearing were damaged by the putrid water to such an extent that they were also destroyed. The religious books he was holding were also damaged.
Furthermore, T. stated that the stench from “the skunk” was so powerful that his mother was forced to spend many hours, late at night, washing his clothes. Flies were attracted to the stench and the upholstery in the car his father used to bring him home stank for many days afterwards.
T. is suing over assault, negligence, and violations of the Fundamental Laws of Human Dignity and Liberty. Currently the police have 45 days to reply to the statement of claim or else a ruling will be handed down in their absence.
Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who is representing the claimant: “Policemen spraying ‘the skunk’ at innocent hareidi Jews standing at a bus stop in the middle of the night is a sight from an era in which Jews were injured for appearing religious. We will not tolerate discrimination by those entrusted to enforce the law. There must be one law for every citizen in the State of Israel.
“We have noticed that when the hareidi or the religious public is involved, the gloves are off, and what is even more serious is that neither the regulations nor the rules are being followed by the police. Extreme violations of human dignity are a matter of course. This time the incident was documented, and therefore a suit was filed. We hope that the police will come to the correct conclusions.”

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