Israel Claims Security Cameras Where Police Shot Autistic Palestinian Were Not Working

Eyad Hallaq's family suspects the police 'are concealing evidence' as investigation into his death in Jerusalem's Old City nears close and authorities say there is no security camera footage of the incident

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The security camera in the garbage room where Eyad Hallaq was fatally shot by Border Police in Jerusalem.
The security camera in the garbage room where Eyad Hallaq was fatally shot by Border Police in Jerusalem.Credit: Ohad Zweingberg

The Justice Ministry said Monday that there is no video footage of the police shooting of an unarmed autistic Palestinian man, Eyad Hallaq, in May in Jerusalem, raising concerns that the Israeli authorities' investigation will end with no clear conclusion in the case that sparked outrage and protests across Israel and the Palestinian territories.

In a meeting with Hallaq's family, members of the unit investigating police misconduct said that the cameras in the garbage room where Hallaq was shot were not working on that day.

The investigators did not elaborate on other security cameras in the area, although Haaretz has found that there are no fewer than 10 private and security cameras in the 150 meters between the Old City's Lions Gate, where the chase began, and the garbage room where Hallaq was shot to death. However, to date, neither the suspected officers nor the eyewitnesses have been shown footage of the chase or shooting during the investigation.

Hallaq, 32, was a low-functioning autistic man who was on his way to a special needs school in the Old City and apparently panicked when approached by Border Police officers. He was pursued and shot dead in a garbage room where he hid.

His father, Khairi, told Haaretz on Monday that they went to the meeting with police investigators but "did not understand anything, we were told there were cameras but they did not work. Every passing day we feel worse than the day before. We haven't left the house in 40 days. You cannot imagine how hard it is."

Rana Hallaq. “There’s one boy, we have no other. He’s my second soul. Eyad and I are one soul from long ago.” Credit: Alex Levac

The attorney representing the family said that they are "very surprised that there is no footage from the garbage room, our request is to open a very in-depth investigation into whether evidence has been concealed. Because it is not possible that cameras were placed there and yet there is no documentation. We have a very strong suspicion that [the police] are concealing evidence in this case."

The Justice Ministry also told Hallaq's family that the investigation is nearing its end, that they had collected eyewitness testimonies, and all police officers involved in the incident were investigated.

On Sunday, the police officer who is the main suspect in the shooting was questioned for the second time since the incident. During the interrogation, investigators presented the suspect with testimonies of other police officers that contradicted his own.

The policeman reiterated his version that as far as he understood in that moment, he was pursuing a man suspected of being an armed terrorist. The suspect also claimed that the fact that Hallaq wore gloves increased his suspicion that it he was dangerous, and after Hallaq entered the garbage room, he made a suspicious move that led him to open fire.

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