An indictment was filed on Sunday against Chief Superintendent Nisso Guetta for assaulting a protester and a photographer at an anti-government demonstration near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem in August.
Guetta, an operation officer at the Jerusalem District police, is charged with pushing a protester, as well as hitting a photographer who filmed the arrest of another protester. He is expected to face up to two years in prison for the offences.
"The expectation is that every police officer would behave professionally and wouldn't act violently even in complex situations," prosecutor for the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers, Shaked Dahan, said.
"This especially runs true when an officer is setting an example for the staff under his command."
The indictment says that Guetta pushed a protester, Avichai Green, who complained to him about the conduct of the officers.
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A protester then removed Guetta's face mask and ran away. Guetta chased him down and arrested him. Press photographer Yalon Gurewitz filmed the incident.
The indictment claims that "during the escorting of the protester, without any interaction between the protester and Guetta, the accused charged at Gurewitz, hitting him forcefully on the side of his face, while holding a walkie-talkie in his hand." As a result of the confrontation, the indictment added, Gurewitz's glasses fell and he sustained injuries on his face and ears.
The police have been scrutinized over use of excessive force at the weekly anti-Netanyahu protests, which have been ongoing for 23 weeks.
Following the incident on August 30, several groups of protesters have turned to acting Police Commissioner Motti Cohen, asking him to lower the violence at the protests and demanding to bar Guetta "from being part of the police force securing the demonstration, thus preventing people from being assaulted.”
Two additional complaints against Guetta were closed due to lack of evidence.