11 years after beating and degrading an East Jerusalem father in front of his son: 3 officers will pay the father and son 60,000 NIS in compensation
On June 3, 2006, two residents of East Jerusalem, a father and his ten year-old son, made their way to al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers. At the entrance to the Old City’s Lion’s Gate, they came across three police officers. One asked for the father’s ID, and when he received it, he said: “Look at that mug of yours” in a mocking tone. This sparked an argument between the father and the officer, who now demanded to conduct a body search on the father. The father agreed to be searched, but only at the police station, located just a few meters away, rather than in public and certainly not in front of his young son. The officer said that was not possible, while the other two officers pushed the father against the wall and started beating him. The officers then called a police cruiser and took the father – with his son – to the Kishleh police station, where the father was interrogated for hours on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, with the son waiting outside the interrogation room the entire time, crying, afraid for his father.
On June 22, 2003, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual contacted the Department for the Investigation of the Police (DIP), demanding an investigation of the violent incident and prosecution of those responsible. When the DIP notified HaMoked about six months later that the case had been closed due to “public interest considerations”, HaMoked appealed the decision to the Attorney General, and one of the officers was disciplined for “abuse of power”. His punishment was a reprimand entered into his personal file. The role the two other officers played in the incident was absent from the disciplinary proceeding due to “lack of evidence”
On June 11, 2007, the father and son filed a civil claim
, through HaMoked, against the three officers and the State of Israel. In the claim, the plaintiffs argued that the officers used violence and humiliated the father in public, disregarding the young child crying for help, and that they conducted an unjustified search and falsely detained the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs also stated that this violence caused physical and mental harm, lost work days, high costs for medical treatment and medication and caused the child emotional damage. The state was held vicariously responsible for the acts of the officers who were serving on its behalf, as its agents.
On September 7, 2014, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court dismissed
the officers’ claims that the father “looked suspicious”, that he “was making faces” and “muttering in Arabic, which sounded like swearing to me”, and held that “the evidence does indicate that an argument erupted between the parties, and that the exchange was vocal”, however, “this does not justify the treatment of the Plaintiff, including the search and the violence used against him”. The court went so far as recognizing the child as a direct victim of the incident, as he had been removed from his father’s side and placed in a situation of helplessness and distress. Given this, the court ordered the defendants to pay 20,000 NIS in damages to the father, and 40,000 NIS to the son.