Police May File Civil Suits Against People Convicted of Assaulting Officers

Individuals convicted of assaulting police officers will face civil suits as well as criminal proceedings, under a new initiative by the Haifa District State Prosecutor and the Northern District police.

This would be a precedent-setting measure, and is still in the preliminary planning stage.

Offenders would be required to cover the costs the state incurred due to the officer's injuries, as well as pay damages to the officer himself.

The proposal is part of a broader effort by the state prosecutor for civil affairs, in conjunction with the state prosecutor for criminal affairs and the Israel Police, to start filing administrative and civil lawsuits in addition to criminal suits.

Officials at the State Prosecutor's Office said the civil suits would most likely be filed against people who assaulted police officers or damaged police property. The State Prosecutor's Office also recently filed a damages suit against an individual who made false reports to the police.

Officials said that people convicted of assaulting an officer would now have to cover expenses the state incurred for benefits it gave the officer after the attack, the officer's salary during the recovery period and damage to police property.

The officer would also be entitled to sue over property damage and physical harm.

"This is far more than an attempt to get money back - it stems from the position that part of upholding the rule of law is protecting those who safeguard the law," said Eitan Lederer, the Haifa District state prosecutor for civil affairs.

Lederer said the new measure would be part of broader efforts by state prosecutors and the police "to employ tools of civil and administrative law to clamp down on offenders."

"Reaching into criminals' wallets will have a deterrent effect," Lederer said.

Coastal District chief Brig. Gen. Roni Atiya said yesterday that police are seeking to halt the trend of assaults against officers however possible.

"It's unacceptable that anyone who wants to harm an officer can do so," he said. "This trend must stop, and civil suits are just one more deterrent measure."