Police officer who beat Ethiopian-Israeli soldier will not be charged

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli police officer who was caught on camera beating an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier will not be charged.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced on Sunday that he was closing the case, which led to violent protests by Ethiopian-Israelis throughout Israel. Israel Police reportedly will still discipline the officer, who was suspended shortly after the April incident.

A Justice Ministry investigation found that the soldier, Damas Pakada, instigated the clash by refusing to leave an area closed off due to a suspicious object. A ministry statement said the film of the incident was reviewed carefully, including in slow motion, and showed that Pakada first pushed the policeman, who responded with force to remove the soldier. Also, the ministry said that it cannot prove the officer hit Pakada due to racism.

The officer, identified as Y in an interview in May, has insisted he did nothing wrong.

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Also Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces court-martialed two soldiers who were caught on camera beating an unarmed Palestinian man on Friday in a West Bank refugee camp near Ramallah. A third soldier, who was seen swearing at the man, also was court-martialed.

The soldiers seen beating the man were given suspended jail terms of 28 days. The swearing soldier was given a sentence of 30 days detention to the base.

The IDF said the man approached the soldiers and tried to provoke a confrontation, according to reports. The soldiers reportedly believed the man was trying to grab one of their rifles.