AG considers reopening case against policeman who beat Ethiopian soldier
April 2015: a police officer is filmed assaulting an IDF soldier of Ethiopian descent; the then-AG closes the case against the officer, who is not disciplined; now Avichai Mandelblit is reexamining the case and finding the evidence not to match his predecessor's decision.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced on Sunday that he was considering reopening the investigation against the former police officer who was recorded beating a uniformed IDF soldier of Ethiopian descent in April 2015 to the joy of the beaten man's family.
The footage showed the soldier, Damas Pakada, approached by two policemen who speak with him for a few moments before violently assaulting him. The police officer who led the assault was not criminally charged at the time, and the case against him was closed. Pakada, now an officer in the army, has been attempting to have the case reopened and criminal charges brought against his assailant.
Mandelblit explained that he was waiting to hear from the former police officer before making his final decision in the matter.
Mandelblit wrote that "a reevaluation of the facts revealed certain inaccuracies" in Weinstein's decision. He added that "the use of force in the incident did not begin with Pakada's pushing the policeman, but with the policeman pushing Pakada and his bicycle."
He added, "The policeman's use of force comes following things that Pakada said to him, and not following the soldier pushing him.
Mandelblit said that an additional reason to reexamine the case was that "while the police officer allegedly used unnecessary force, no measures were taken against him in that respect, not even on the police disciplinary level."
Mandelblit added that his predecessor took into account the fact that the police officer was no longer in his position. However, the current attorney general's reevaluation found that he was removed due to other reasons and not for his assault on Pakada.
Pakada's brother, Darbe, spoke with Ynet regarding the attorney general's announcement. "I'm so glad to hear that happy news; this is a welcome decision that justice will come out."
He criticized Weinstein's earlier decision, deeming it contrary to the facts of the case. He added, "Today's message gladdens not just the family, but the entire (Ethiopian) community."
The officer's brother explained, "What happened to us was really frustrating. We were very angry at the time. What else do you need to see outside of what you see in the video? Everything is recorded 'play by play.' I don’t' know if the video was edited, but you can see everything, and they decided despite that on a decision other than what you see."
The former police officer's lawyer, Efrat Nachami Bar, said that her client has been summoned to the attorney general's office to present his version of the events. She stated that she was certain that after Mandelblit converses with her client, the case will remain closed.