AFRICANGLOBE – Israel’s Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has decided to close the case against a police officer filmed attacking a soldier of Ethiopian descent, the Justice Ministry said Sunday.
The case will now be sent back to the police disciplinary unit, it added.
The case against the soldier, Damas Pakedeh, who was arrested after the fight with the police officer in Holon and only released after the video went public, will also be closed, the ministry said.
The incident, filmed in late April, led to protests by Ethiopian Israelis against police brutality and racism, including one in early May that ended in violence and dozens of arrests as police and rioters clashed in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.
In mid-May the police officer involved was fired by the Israel Police, but protesters have repeatedly demanded he be placed on trial.
Weinstein’s announcement on Sunday was greeted with outrage by Ethiopian Israelis, with many turning to social media to express their anger and vow to relaunch the protests.
One prominent protest leader said the decision was nothing short of “a declaration of war.”
The Israel Police said Sunday that the decision to send the case back to the disciplinary branch is irrelevant because the officer was already fired. They added that the officer was still new to the organization, and that his behavior that day was only one of the factors that led to his termination.
By: Ben Hartman