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31 Dec, 2020 15:51

Israeli police commander indicted for assault on youngster during ultra-Orthodox protest against Covid restrictions

Israeli police commander indicted for assault on youngster during ultra-Orthodox protest against Covid restrictions

The commander of a Jerusalem police station has been charged with assault after video emerged of him slapping a 12-year-old boy and harshly shoving a man during a protest by ultra-Orthodox Jews in early October.

The chief of Lev Habira police station, Shimon Marciano, was in charge of providing security at an October 4 rally in Jerusalem, which saw religious hardliners protesting against coronavirus restrictions.

Videos uploaded on social media after the demonstration, which became violent and saw ultra-Orthodox protestors setting fires and throwing stones at police, captured Marciano grabbing a 12-year-old boy, throwing him to the ground and slapping him. The boy was heard crying “I didn’t do anything” in the clip.

The commander then noticed that another protestor had been filming him. He raced after the man and shoved him in the back, with the demonstrator almost hitting a wall with his head as he fell to the ground.

Following a public outcry, the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department (PIID) launched a probe into Marciano’s actions during the protest and charged him with two counts of assault. The indictment said that his attack on the young boy was “without any reason or justification.”

The use of force against Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli security and law enforcement has been a common sight for years, but more recently various protesting elements of the Jewish population have also been subjected to harsh treatment. A number of videos depicting police brutality have been uploaded online after protests — be it by ultra-Orthodox believers, opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or Israelis angry with worsening Covid-19 restrictions.

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Marciano isn’t the first high-ranking Israeli officer indicted with assault in recent months. In November, Jerusalem chief superintendent, Niso Guetta, faced similar charges for tackling two anti-Netanyahu demonstrators.

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