Police failed to prepare for Ethiopian Israeli protest, officers say

Israel Police did not sufficiently prepare for a protest by Israelis of Ethiopian descent that got out of hand on Thursday, according to a Channel 10 report.

Just over 1,000 people demonstrated in Jerusalem on Thursday in response to a video showing police assaulting an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian descent in the city of Holon.

In the video, a policeman is seen pushing the soldier, Demas Fekadeh, to the ground after he didn’t initially move at the policeman’s request. (Police were attempting to clear the area due to a suspicious object.) Another policeman is then shown in the video pummeling Fekadeh.

Thursday’s protest spiraled into violence, however, with stones, bottles and – according to reports – fire bombs, thrown at police. There were few injuries, however, and only two arrests.

Officers told Channel 10 that Israel Police had no intelligence on the planned protest, and did not make the necessary preparations for policing it, even though the organizers made their intentions clear on social media.

On Friday, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino praised Jerusalem police’s handling of the protest.

Meanwhile, Channel 2 reported on Friday that Danino is planning to review cases and indictments against Israeli citizens of Ethiopian descent. According to that report, a special team of police representatives and Ethiopian community leaders has been set up to help with the process. In response to an inquiry from Haaretz, the police spokesman’s unit said they did not know the details of the reported program.

Under this plan, representatives of the Ethiopian community will pass Israel Police a list of cases under investigation which they think there was a flaw in police conduct, Channel 2  reported. Cases and indictments will also be canceled in cases where there was discrimination against Israelis of Ethiopian descent. 

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/1.654590

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