The settler whose arrest led to the unusual decision of the police commissioner to freeze all use of Taser stun guns knows it was not his arrest which led to the decision, but the video that documented it.
"I am glad the chief of police realized the severity of the act," said Boaz Albert, a resident of Yitzhar
who violated a restraining order and was violently arrested during the weekend. Earlier Sunday, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino
announced his decision to temporarily prohibit the use of Taser stun guns by officers.
Speaking to Ynet, Albert congratulated the police chief for his decision to suspend the use of electroshock weapons, which are supposed to be used on violent suspects, yet wondered whether the decision would have been made had the event not been documented.
He said: "Generally, what you don't see on camera doesn't even exist, I am sure there are many more violent events, but this one had a camera and that is what made the whole story surface. If it had not been filmed, it would have ended with one version against the other, and it is not at all certain (that the story) would have been published."
Two days after the release of the video where police officers are seen arresting and using Tasers on Albert, who refused to obey his restraining order, the detainee claimed that his arrest was "bullying in uniform." A complaint was filed with the Police Internal Affairs Department.
"The police officers broke into the house, I instinctively ran to the bedroom, lay on the floor and screamed 'I'm not leaving the house, take me.' Within seconds, a police officer came next to me and said 'come with me'. He expected I would go with him, I told him I'm not going and then he shocked me two or three times in my leg, while my wife is at the door in shock," Albert said."
According to him, in segments not seen in the video, the policemen kept Tasing him after they left the house as well. "There was another act of walking to their car that was parked in a nearby Arab village, after I agreed to cooperate and walk on my own they continued to electroshock me, it is extremely painful, but what hurts more is knowing my kids saw everything."
The restraining order, which was issued by the Central Command Chief and brought to Albert's arrest, is still valid, yet Albert declared he will continue to violate it and will return to Yitzhar soon.
"I know the policemen will come again, even if they do so with kid gloves. I am 40, I have six kids. When they talk about Hilltop Youth
and price tags they're referring to people aged 14 to 19. I am not that age. What are they thinking in the Shin Bet or whoever they are, that I walk around with gas bins and set things on fire?"
Taser stun gun (Photo: AFP)
"I will come to any questioning and answer anything asked, but why is this restraining order necessary? I think it is because they don't like the things I say or write. The problem here is that the police made us deal with their violence instead of with the matter of restraining orders."
The documented arrest also struck the political sphere, where many responses were made. Habayit Hayehudi
party said that they will request clarifications from the internal security minister and party members will soon propose a bill that will restrict the use of restraining orders.
In addition, Knesset Member Orit Struk initiated a discussion with the Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee on the matter. According to her, "We will require the police to reveal their Taser use procedures, which I am sure are inappropriate for the situation of the arrest in Yitzhar, and meanwhile I also filed a complaint with the Police Internal Affairs Department against the police officers who took part in the event."
A police officer accused senior police officers of making decisions for populist reasons: "It shows no confidence in the policemen," he claimed, "the decision harms their defense, and to some extent it is a victory of the offenders."
Another field officer expressed his fierce criticism: "How do they expect us to defend ourselves, with silk gloves? The violence towards police officers is only escalating, and we often find ourselves in scary situations, whether it is peace disturbance or domestic violence, we never how it is going to end. We often find ourselves attacked by the people on site."
The police commissioner's announcement Sunday is not the first time in which the police announce the intent to reexamine the use of Taser stun guns. In June 2011, as a response to an appeal made by Meretz
Chairwoman MK Zahava Gal-On, Danino said that he intends on reevaluating the use of Tasers in police activities.
The police commissioner's office responded to Ynet that a reexamination of the matter was indeed made, after which Taser procedures and guidelines were reiterated and changed.
"I hope that this time the police will stand by its guarantee and stop the use of Taser stun guns, which have been proven to be life-risking," said Gal-On. "In recent years I have turned to the police commissioner repeatedly in order to allow the use of Taser guns only as an alternative to firearms, and I even received a response stating he will order a measured and controlled use of this weapon."
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