Lawmaker Initiates Parliamentary Caucus Against Police Brutality

'Police brutality has been causing harm to many population sectors, including ultra-Orthodox, political activists, sports fans, transgender people, homeless people, Ethiopians,' says Meretz MK Ilan Gilon

The demonstration in Petah Tikva on May 27, 2017.
Nir Keidar

The Knesset is expected to collect complaints of police brutality and follow up on the investigation of the suspicions against them. Following a wave of arrests and alleged acts of police brutality at recent protests, Meretz MK Ilan Gilon announced on Sunday the establishment of a caucus against police brutality.

“There is a very disturbing trend of an increasing number of instances in which policemen raise their hands against citizens. The police must do their job – to handle crime, certainly not to be the long arm of a government that is trying to silence its opponents,” Gilon said.

Gilon added that he plans to invite MKs from all the Knesset factions to join the caucus – ultra-Orthodox and secular, Jewish and Arab, right- and left-wing. “Unfortunately, police brutality has been causing harm to many sectors, including Haredim, political activists, sports fans, transgender people, homeless people, Ethiopians,” he said.

“This is an intolerable trend, and in the background there are very disturbing findings about the extent to which files on incidents of brutality of this kind are closed by the Police Investigation Unit,” the MK added. “The Knesset must address the problem and work with the array of tools at its disposal. Woe to the government that raises a hand against its citizens in order to threaten and deter them.”

Gilon also mentioned the detention of about 20 demonstrators on Saturday night at a demonstration in Petah Tikva. “It’s shocking and infuriating to see how the police arrived at the demonstration in advance, with the intention of detaining the demonstrators, as proven by the detainees’ bus with which the police arrived at the spot. The police force is not a censor, and any attempt to frighten demonstrators by means of detention and demanding the payment of a high bail for release is a foolish attempt to break the spirit of the demonstrators and to interfere with their democratic right to protest,” he charged.