The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Sunday ruled that police officer Ido Katzir must pay 15,000 shekels ($4,400) plus 6,000 shekels in lawyer’s fees to a young ultra-Orthodox demonstrator whom he slapped twice.
The incident occurred in January 2017 when during a demonstration Katzir thought the plaintiff had cursed a policeman. Katzir led the demonstrator off and slapped him twice. A complaint was filed with the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers. The officer denied having hurt the young man, who then engaged attorney and Kahanist activist Itamar Ben Gvir, after which an indictment was filed against the police officer. During the trial, Katzir confessed to the charges and was sentenced to community service.
The ultra-Orthodox man also filed a civil complaint against Katzir, who argued that the police should pay any damages. But the court accepted the plaintiff’s argument and ruled that Katzir was fully responsible for what had transpired. The judge also noted that there was no evidence that the police officer was particularly upset at the time, and he couldn’t have expected policemen of lower rank to intervene.
The court noted that although the young man didn’t suffer any physical injury, he accepted Ben Gvir’s arguments that the forceful slaps caused the plaintiff harm and ruled that Katzir must pay 21,000 shekels.
“Every policeman should know that even if he’s an officer, if he hits someone it will come out of his pocket,” Ben-Gvir said. “It’s obvious and simple, but unfortunately the police generally pay up from the public purse. It’s good that the court accepted our position.”
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The B’Tzedek organization, which hired Ben-Gvir, said it would “sue for every police action against the ultra-Orthodox public that violates the law.”