An Israeli officer who shot and killed an autistic Palestinian man in Jerusalem last summer will stand trial, Police's Department for Internal Investigations said Thursday.
The department said the Border Police officer who fired the shot which killed the victim, was indicted on charges of negligent manslaughter.
Eyad Hallaq was fatally shot just inside Jerusalem's Old City on May 30 while he was on his way to the special-needs institution he was attending. He was 32 years old.
According to the indictment, while making his way to the location, Hallaq was asked by a Border Police officer to stop at a checkpoint and identify himself, but he did not respond. This prompted the officer to chase after the man and he was shortly joined by his commander and another officer - a defendant in the case.
They chased him into a nook and shot him, wounding the man, as he stood next to a garbage bin. Believing he was carrying a firearm, the officers approached the man and asked him to give them the weapon. Hallaq, who was still conscious, pointed at a teacher who was with him, who told the officers he wasn't armed.
Despite him being severely injured as a result of the shooting and not holding a weapon, the defendant fired another shot at his upper body, which ultimately lead to his death.
Hallaq’s teacher said she repeatedly cried out to police that he was “disabled” and tried in vain to stop the shooting. At least five bullet holes were seen in a wall of a small structure at the site.
The State Attorney's Office said that the incident is "hard and saddening," adding that the decision to indict the 20-year-old officer was made after a "thorough examination of the evidence, including the circumstances on the ground and the testimony of the officers."
"The officer fired towards Hallaq while he was holding nothing in his hand and had not committed any act that would have warranted the shooting. The policeman shot at him while taking an unreasonable risk that caused his death and therefore justifies his indictment."
Khiri Hallaq, Eyad's father, said in response to the indictment that "we want there to be law in this country. In this country, there is a clear difference between being Arab or Jewish."
Joint List chair MK Ayman Odeh responded on Twitter, calling the indictment for negligent manslaughter "an infuriating and denigrating charge."
The indicted officer's legal team described the charges as "deplorable," saying that the cop acted out of "innocence" while being in the middle of a security situation.