Officers who assaulted anti-pullout demonstrator get community service
Akiva Vitkin was beaten by a policeman during a rally held prior to Israel's pullout from Gaza in May 2005, then had his head slammed against a wall at a police station by another officer. 'Any regular citizen would have been sentenced to jail,' he says
Two police officers who were convicted of assaulting a demonstrator at an anti-Disengagement rally in May 2005 were sentenced by the Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court to community service on Thursday.
The policemen were part of a force tasked with keeping the peace at a demonstration held on Jabotinsky Street in Ramat Gan just a few months prior to Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip.
Officers Eran Naim and Eliran Avraham were sentenced to six and three months community service, respectively.
Israel Police's Internal Affairs Unit claimed in the indictment that during the rally 21-year-old protestor Akiva Vitkin was thrown to the ground and had a finger stuck up his nose by officer Naim, causing it to bleed.
Vitkin was then taken to a police station, where officer Avraham beat him and slammed his head against a wall.
Judge Hanan Efrati said in his ruling, "A police officer, as an enforcer of the law, must protect the citizens and not threaten them. The accused violated the trust that must exist between the public and the police."
Naim, who was dismissed from the force following the incident, said after the hearing "The lesson that I have drawn from this is that an officer cannot do his job if he is punished by the law."
Vitkin, the complainant in the case, said he was disappointed with the sentence. "Any regular citizen who isn’t a cop would have been sentenced to jail," he said.