Jaffa Youth Shot Dead During Police Chase Was 'Murdered in Cold Blood,' His Father Says

The 20-year-old wasn't armed when he was shot four times at close range, his father says

Police in Jaffa, July 29, 2017.
Tomer Appelbaum

The father of a young man shot to death during a police chase in Jaffa over the weekend said the policemen “murdered him in cold blood,” telling Army Radio that his son, who was fleeing the scene on a scooter, was not armed and was shot at close range.

“Why did they shoot him in the head?” the father said. “Why do they kill? Why did they murder him? They could have shot the tire, brought him down and caught him. He was only a boy of 20.”

Speaking to Haaretz, he added that his son’s upper body showed signs of at least four bullets. He noted that he hadn’t gotten an autopsy report from the Abu Kabir national forensic medicine institute, but his remarks were based on the reports of relatives who saw the body before the funeral. A relative said the dead youth and his friend, who was moderately wounded in the shooting, were fleeing police because they were driving without a license.

According to the police, the two men were suspected of being involved in a shooting incident on Yefet Street and fled the scene on a scooter. The police then chased after them and shot at them.

The Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers is investigating the shooting. There is a gag order on the details of the investigation and the names of those involved.

After a particularly tense day, things were calmer Sunday in Jaffa. Nevertheless, police were still blocking part of the main thoroughfare, Yefet Street, for fear the riots could resume. Police released the eight people, five of them minors, who’d been arrested at the protests on Saturday afternoon and during the funeral. The father of the dead youth said he understood the demonstrators’ anger but called for calm. He noted that police have yet to make any contact with the family.

Police responded to the father’s claims by saying, “It isn’t clear what his claims are based on, when the investigation of the incident has just begun. Naturally we cannot give details about the findings of the investigation at this stage, when there’s a gag order and at the same time the circumstances of the shooting are still be clarified by the competent authorities.”

Channel 2 reporter Gilad Shalmor, who was attacked by the mob along with photographer Gal Zeitman during the funeral, recalled the events on Sunday and described it as an attempted lynching.

“We marched with them, hundreds of people, most of them young, marched behind the vehicle that was carrying the body of the youth and [they] called out ‘Allahu Akbar,” Shalmor wrote on his Facebook page. “Because I’d been invited there by some of them, I felt pretty safe, unjustifiably, it seems. Within a second everything blew up. It began with a wave that started to hit [Zeitman]. They took his camera and smashed it. He was punched and kicked but managed to flee.

“The first punch to my face was tolerable. ... Suddenly, another punch and another kick. Two people pulled me to the ground and others were ripping my shirt. Another man held me in a choke hold, his arms around my throat. “I don’t know how long it lasted. It could be that five minutes passed, or maybe 15 seconds. I also have no idea how many people were involved in this party. I was alone and understood that I had to get out of there as fast as I could, but I couldn’t see in one eye and my left leg was too weak to drag myself out. . Suddenly someone pulled my hand. Someone whose face I can’t remember plucked me out. ‘Run,’ he said. I started to run. The animals had apparently satisfied their appetites, since no one came after me.”

Shalmor was admitted to Ichilov Hospital with shoulder injuries and bruises all over his body.