The Officer Who Beat A Homeless Person Has Been Summoned for a Hearing
About a month ago, following testimonies from homeless persons, we appealed (Hebrew) to the Legal Advisor of the Tel Aviv Municipality demanding that the municipality cease what appears to be an illegal attempt to remove homeless people from public spaces as a response to protests from residents of the neighborhoods of Florentin and Neve Sha’anan. Furthermore, we demanded the suspension and investigation of an officer from the Municipal Security Patrol Unit who was documented beating a homeless man. In the footage circulated on Facebook, officers are seen evicting a group of homeless people of Ethiopian descent, without the accompaniment of anyone from the special Homeless Issues Unit, and without name tags. In the footage an officer is documented punching one of the homeless men in the face, injuring him.
In the appeal to the municipality, Attorney Gil Gan-Mor, director of ACRI’s Social Rights and Equality unit, wrote that we commend the fact that the municipality has supported the welfare department’s activities in response to complaints filed by residents of neighborhoods in South Tel Aviv. Yet, additionally “we observe unacceptable and illegal patterns of conduct toward homeless individuals on behalf of the Municipal Security Patrol and forcible removal from the public spaces in which they reside, or the confiscation of their possessions, with no justification.” Such actions are prohibited in accordance with the Tel Aviv Municipality’s protocols, which were validated by a Supreme Court verdict following an ACRI petition.
In the response (Hebrew) ACRI received from the Municipality, it was written that municipal enforcement agents “are behaving in accordance with the enforcement protocols against homeless people in public spaces.” Furthermore, it was communicated that following an initial investigation, it was decided that the agent in question would be summoned for a hearing, during which his continued employment with the municipality would be considered.”
Attorney Gil Gan-Mor: “Homeless individuals’ situation will neither be resolved through use of policing and enforcement mechanisms toward their arrest, nor forcible removal to some other corner or the confiscation of their possessions. This solution constitutes cruelty for its own sake. A seemingly “simple” solution, which creates the illusion of addressing the issue while in fact aggravating the situation of people experiencing homelessness, their ability to survive on the street, and their distrust of the system as a whole. The Tel Aviv Municipality has the resources and authority to act using suitable means, which will address residents’ complaints, through the fields of welfare, housing, and health. For example, an immediate increase in personnel to the unit addressing homelessness and addiction, would at least enable the fulfillment of preexisting commitments.”
ACRI’s Appeal to the Tel Aviv Municipality, 31.12.2019 (Hebrew)
The Municipality’s Reply, 8.1.2020 (Hebrew)