Over-policing certain populations
What do the stories of Eyad al-Hallaq, Yehuda Biadga, Solomon Teka, Shirel Habura, Yanki Rosenberg, Zissi Margoliot, Jafar Farah, and many more have in common? Despite the differences in each case’s circumstances, police officers applied unnecessary or excessive violence toward all people who belong to minority groups: Arabs, Ethiopian-Israelis, people of Mizrahi descent, the ultra-Orthodox, refugees, migrant workers, and individuals with disabilities. Some of those listed belong to two groups at once, which places them in even more grave danger.
Part of the problem is that even when police act to prevent police violence, they do so on a case-by-case basis and not holistically or systematically. In an appeal to the police and the Minister of Public Security, a long list of organizations including ACRI and Bizchut offered several recommendations to help ensure that the police will exercise their power equally and free of bias, so that no more lives are lost. Among other things, the organizations suggest:
● Recognition that this is a systemic problem that requires thorough treatment. It is no longer sufficient to conduct case-by-case investigations of individual incidents, and to draw personal conclusions regarding officers involved in specific cases.
● Recognition that biases and stereotypes toward different populations are human tendencies that do not spare police officers.
● The Israel Police must learn from cumulative experience around the world wherein efforts have been made to counter this phenomenon.
● The Israel Police must develop a national plan to cease over-policing certain populations. The issue must be prioritized through allocating resources, appointing a professional team, and developing a detailed plan of action, including a timetable to monitor its implementation.
● There is a need for broad cooperation and arrangements with the populations relevant to developing and implementing this plan, including organizations that prevent various groups, community leaders, and public representatives..