Security guards involved in the killing of a mentally ill Israeli Arab man who attacked a guard outside a Tel Aviv hospital last month were interviewed by the police Wednesday on suspicion of misconduct in their handling of the incident.
According to a source familiar with the details of the investigation, three officers are suspected of either negligent manslaughter – a crime punishable by up to 12 years in prison – or criminal negligence, which carries a maximum sentence of up to three years.
Two of the security guards were questioned under caution on Wednesday and a request was filed by the prosecution to appoint a judge to the investigation.
Mustafa Younis, a 26-year-old psychiatric patient at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, stabbed and lightly wounded one of the security guards before being disarmed and shot dead while lying on the ground.
The source added that the main suspect will be a female guard who fired an additional bullet after Younis had already been shot and was incapacitated on the ground.
Until now, the police have refrained from investigating the guards and accepted that they acted in self defense. After deliberation between the investigation team and the prosecution, it was decided that the guards will brought in for an investigation.
Activists and Arab politicians have criticized the police's handling of the case, claiming police, officers and security personnel are quick to pull the trigger on Arab suspects because of a policy of institutionalized racism.
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According to the initial police investigation, Younis was at the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation with his mother. He pulled out a knife and threatened two people inside the hospital but did not hurt them. Security guards followed him and forcibly removed him from his car as he was about to leave, at which point Younis stabbed a guard in the head, injuring him lightly. After Younis was disarmed and incapacitated on the ground, the guards shot him five or six times and killed him.