Cop Caught on Tape Beating Israeli-Ethiopian Soldier Offered Plea Bargain

Officer has until April to accept the deal or face assault indictment in case that sparked nationwide protests.

Prime Minister Netanyahu greets Damas Fekadeh, Israeli-Ethiopian soldier who was set upon by police officer, May 2015.
Prime Minister Netanyahu greets Damas Fekadeh, Israeli-Ethiopian soldier who was set upon by police officer, May 2015. Chaim Tzach/GPO

Almost two years after the release of the original recording that sparked widespread protests, the police officer involved in the seemingly unprovoked attack of uniformed IDF solider Damas Pakedeh has been offered a plea bargain by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.

The attorney general's decision follows a petition made by Pakedeh's legal team to the High Court of Justice, which challenged the closing of the case by previous Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

In its current form, the deal would see the officer acknowledge his guilt and be obligated to fulfil a number of other stipulations detailed in the arrangement. According to Mendelblit's offer, the officer has until April to agree to the terms, or face an indictment on charges of assault.

Ethiopian Israeli's protest against police brutality in Haifa, May 2015. Banner reads "Our blood is only good for war, I've had enough"
Rami Shllush

The recording, released in May 2015, was seen as the catalyst of months of nationwide protests by members of Israel's Ethiopian community both against police brutality and against what they perceive as widespread discrimination in Israeli society. The protests turned violent on a number of occasions and led to dozens of arrests, as well as dozens of injured protesters and police officers.

President Reuven Rivlin said at the time that the footage and the reactions it caused revealed an "open and bloody wound" in Israeli society, and insisted that answers be given.