Police brutality toward Ethiopian Israelis
Pinning protesters to the ground, chokeholds, excessive use of force, a deafening scream, and behind-the-back handcuffing – these are just some of the "means of demonstration dispersal" used by the police yesterday, with atypical violence applied against non-violent protesters, some of whom are minors. Shirli Nadav, the coordinator of the ACRI's DocoRights project, attended the demonstration and documented the incidents.
Here You can view filmed documentation of the violence during the demonstration yesterday, captured by Haim Schwarzenberg.
Police conduct during demonstrations held by the Ethiopian community is a direct extension of their excessive policing of the community at large, which sparked the protest in the first place. Three years after the Palmor report, the gap between the presence of members of the Ethopian community in criminal proceedings and their proportion of the population (1.6%) nremains enormous: according to data published in the latest activity report by The Anti-Racism Government Coordinating Unit, the proportion of youth of Ethiopian origin in Ofek prison in 2018 stood at roughly 14.3%, and the proportion of minors of Ethiopian origin arrested in 2018 was 5.4%. Media publications indicate that over the past two decades, 11 young people in the community have been killed in police encounters. Just this year, two young members of the Ethiopian community were killed – Yehuda Biadga in January, and Solomon Teka this week.
A telling example of over-policing is evident in a recent lawsuit ACRI filed against the police on behalf of a 16-year-old Ethiopian boy. The boy, a resident of Holon, never had any confrontations with law enforcement. Nevertheless, he was repeatedly flagged as a suspect by the police, and went through three needless incidents of police searching and questioning near his home. His classmates, who are no different from him aside from the color of their skin, were never required to explain to a police officer what they were doing in the neighborhood or to go through a humiliating search. The police's mistreatment of this youth reflects the reality of Ethiopian citizens' daily lives in the State of Israel, subject to incessant racial labeling in all walks of life.