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Samir Dari
Photo: Tal Naveh
Policeman accused of killing Palestinian acquitted
Border guard policeman Shmuel Yehezkel acquitted of charges of manslaughter east Jerusalem resident in 2005

Border guard policeman Shmuel Yehezkel was acquitted of charges of manslaughter, Wednesday, by the Jerusalem district court. Yehezkel was accused of killing Samir Dari, a resident of the Isawiyya neighborhood of east Jerusalem, in November 2005.

 

The indictment, submitted in January 2006, revealed that the policeman had shot Dari in the back at close-range, resulting in the man's
death. Dari was shot during a police chase following a car thief in Jerusalem's French Hill neighborhood.

 

The police force's original report stated that a driver from the Isawiyya neighborhood ran over a policeman, who then responded by firing the two shots that killed Dari.  The police force's internal investigation unit exmained whether or not this shooting was justified.

 

Yehezkel, who claimed self-defense, said during the trial that he and other policemen were attacked by a riotous crowd at the entrance of Isawiyya, who tried to grab a detainee from police custody.

 

Yehezkel and another officer fired shots warning shots into the air in an attempt to distance the protestors. At that time, a vehicle - in which Dari was sitting – ran over Yehezkel, throwing him into the street.

 

"The vehicle stopped suddenly and two passengers got out in order to grab the detainee. The victim attempted to get into the car and I was convinced that he would try to run me over again, and that I and other policemen were in immediate danger.

 

"That is why I shot the victim, after I warned him that, if he didn't stop I would shoot. He didn't stop," Yehezkel testified.

 

Judge Solberg wrote, in his ruling, "The accused made a terrible mistake. He killed the victim for nothing. But, there is a more than reasonable doubt that his criminal responsibility is limited.

 

"This was a mistake in a complicated situation, combined with justification, necessity and self-defense. Because there is reasonable doubt, the law requires that we restrict our ruling. Therefore, I acquitted the accused," he wrote.

 

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