Conflict of interest resolved in police panel examining conduct before gay parade murder

The committee being set up to investigate last week’s murder of Shira Banki at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade will not include a senior officer who would have been investigating her immediate superior, raising concerns of a conflict of interest.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced on Wednesday that Chief Supt. Anna Ben Mordechai, commander of the Harel police station in Mevasseret Zion, will not sit on the panel because she answers directly to Jerusalem Police District Commander Moshe Edri, who will be under investigation. Ben Mordechai will be replaced by another female officer who does not report to Edri.

The decision was made following a Haaretz report about the potential conflict of interest, and a subsequent query by the Movement for Quality Government to Erdan on the matter. The movement welcomed the decision and Erdan’s commitment to upholding the principle of avoiding conflicts of interest in the public service.

The committee, whose formation was announced by police on Monday, is to examine the police preparations for the parade and how the parade was handled. It will examine the gathering of intelligence and its analysis before the parade; the interface with the Israel Prison Service, including whether information was passed on regarding the release from prison only three weeks before the parade of Yishai Schlissel, the suspected knife-wielding assailant, who had committed a similar attack during the 2005 gay pride parade in the city. The operating plans for last Thursday, the day of the parade, as well as police deployment and response to the stabbing will also be examined.

The police decided that the committee will comprise senior officers from different police units – three brigadiers-general and three commanders, along with two chief superintendents. Except for retired chief superintendent Avi Roif, a former commander in Jerusalem who is known to be very familiar with the Haredi community, all the others are in active police service.

The other committee members are: Central Police District commander Brig. Gen. Alon Levavi; National Police College commander Brig. Gen. Alon Assur; and the deputy head of the investigations and intelligence division, Brig. Gen. Haim Ifergan, along with Cmdr. Koby Zrihan; Cmdr. Amir Choen, and Cmdr. Eliezer Kahana.


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