Israel Drops Charges Against Protester Who Slapped a Cop

The activist, who protested the 2019 police killing of an Ethiopian Israeli teen, provided documentation proving the officer pushed her before she slapped him

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A protest over the killing of Ethiopian Israeli teen Solomon Teka by a police officer, Jerusalem 2019.
A protest over the killing of Ethiopian Israeli teen Solomon Teka by a police officer, Jerusalem 2019. Credit: Moti Milrod
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

Israel's state prosecutor has withdrawn charges against a demonstrator accused of assaulting a police officer at a 2019 protest, after she presented documentation at her hearing showing that he pushed her before she slapped him.

The activist was arrested during a Jerusalem protest over the 2019 killing of Ethiopian Israeli teen Solomon Teka. Her case was closed following the hearing on the grounds that she did not have any criminal record. She was told, however, that if she commits a similar offense in the future, the case would be reopened. The maximum punishment for this offense is three years of imprisonment.

The 24-year-old woman participated in the demonstration two days after a policeman shot and killed Teka. She was arrested that night, and the court rejected the police's request to extend her detention.

“I didn’t see a policeman chasing me away, I saw a man behaving violently toward me, I was in shock. I know that I can’t attack a policeman, I didn’t intend to do that, I know the regulations,” she said under investigation.

The officer said that he pushed the woman from behind to disperse the demonstration, but video footage showed that he pushed her from the front and it wasn’t done to distance her from the road. “I asked the young woman nicely to leave, and she was warned that otherwise I would have to use force. I pushed her from the back in order to move her away. She turned around, lifted her hand and slapped me in the face, she apologized 1,000 times," the officer said.

A legal sources familiar with the details of the case said that the use of force was not unreasonable.

The woman discovered that she was to be prosecuted for attacking a policeman and for unruly behavior in public when her request for a weapons license was rejected by the Public Security Ministry.

In August, she was told her that the indictment against her was expected “soon.” She received legal assistance from the Justice Ministry’s anti-racism unit, and was referred to the Public Defender.

The woman told Haaretz that “I was lucky there was documentation, and the case was closed quickly.” She said she had never before participated in demonstrations, and that police officers called her and her friends “animals," adding “It was like a spit in the face.”

Her attorney claimed that the prosecution had ignored the circumstances surrounding the incident. "The demonstrator used violence only as an instinctive reaction to the policeman’s behavior," the attorney said.

The police said that "The suspect participated in a violent demonstration at the entrance to Jerusalem and due to disorderly conduct and attacking a policeman, she was detained for an investigation and released the following day." 

"At the end of the investigation the case was transferred for perusal and the decision of the prosecution, according to accepted practice.”

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