Israeli police officer lied about sending patrol car to scene of murder
Police said they sent a patrol car after neighbors complained to police about noise hours before the murder of Gadi Vichman in Be'er Sheva last Friday, but that patrol car had found nothing.
A Be'er Sheva policewoman was suspended on Wednesday after a preliminary inquiry found she had lied in her report of the events leading up to the murder of Gadi Vichman in the city last Friday.
Vichman was stabbed to death around 2 A.M. after he descended from his apartment to tell a group of noisy youth to keep it down. Police initially said that they had sent a patrol car to the area after neighbors complained to police, hours before the fatal event, about the noise, but that the patrol car had found nothing.
In fact, no patrol car had been sent to the scene, the police inquiry found. The policewoman who gave the false report had coordinated her statement with a municipal inspector and both testified a patrol car had been dispatched to the scene and reported it had found nothing.
The two were both suspended and the case was transferred on Wednesday to the Justice Ministry's Police Investigation Department.
Although neighbors, including Vichman's wife, called the police several times to complain about the noise youths were making outside their building, no patrol car came. Vichman, a 36-year-old father of two, eventually came out himself and approached the youths after 2 A.M. and was stabbed to death.
Earlier this week police arrested nine people, aged 19 to 21, on suspicion of being involved in Vichman's murder, as well as a 16-year-old-girl whose shoe was found at the crime scene.
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino yesterday received the preliminary findings, according to which policemen and an inspector had given false statements.
"According to preliminary findings the policemen didn't come to the scene at all," Southern District Police Commander Yossi Parienti said yesterday.
"This is a grave failure in this specific incident...the policewoman in question is young and has been in service a few months," he said.
After the murder police said they received two calls, at 00:15 A.M. and five minutes later, complaining about the noise. They said they sent a patrol car, which reported it had found nothing. Two hours later two telephone calls were received reporting a fight and stabbing.
The main suspect in the murder, Eden Ohayon, 19, whose custody was extended by eight days, reenacted the murder at the crime scene yesterday. The other seven suspects also attended the reenactment.
After the murder, police started a covert investigation. A shoe found at the murder scene led them to the girl who broke down under investigation and told them what had happened. She reenacted the murder. Police then located the other suspects, some of them in hiding in various apartments in the city, by tracing their mobile phones.
Some of the suspects said a fight broke out between them and Vichman, who was stabbed with a broken bottle.
Vichman's widow, Michal Levy, said "I hope the culprits get the stiffest possible penalty, I hope they rot in jail. Everyone who was there had a hand in it.I hope everyone will understand from now on that this violence cannot go on like this," she said.
Asked about the police conduct on the night of the murder, Levy said "they don't understand that because of this a man was murdered. They thought [the calls were] not important and didn't think it would end with murder. They shouldn't treat people's complaints with contempt. It could all have been prevented; that's what hurts the most."