Commander of Jerusalem police station indicted for beating child during protest

Senior officer shoved, slapped 12-year-old boy ‘without reason or justification’ during ultra-Orthodox demonstration in October, charges say

Commander Shimon Marciano stands next to the young boy he shoved towards a wall during an ultra-Orthodox protest in Jerusalem on October 4, 2020 (Screenshot: Twitter)
Commander Shimon Marciano stands next to the young boy he shoved towards a wall during an ultra-Orthodox protest in Jerusalem on October 4, 2020 (Screenshot: Twitter)

A senior police officer was charged with assault on Thursday for attacking two people at an ultra-Orthodox demonstration in Jerusalem after footage emerged of him violently shoving and smacking a boy and another protester documenting the event.

The police officer grabbed the 12-year-old, shoved him angrily to the ground, slapped him, then pushed another man who documented the incident, video footage taken at the scene showed.

“I didn’t do anything,” the boy is heard calling out in the video, after he is thrown to the ground by the officer.

According to the indictment, which was submitted by the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department (PIID), on October 4, Shimon Marciano, commander of the Jerusalem Lev Habira police station, commanded a police force that provided security for a large ultra-Orthodox demonstration, and attempted to prevent a riot.

At one point, the indictment stated, the protest turned violent, with trash cans being set on fire, stones thrown at police, and insults hurled.

Near midnight, the officer ran toward a group of protesters after they had allegedly thrown stones at the police force. Among them was the young boy, who began to run away along with other protesters. The officer grabbed the boy, pushed him to the ground, and while he was down, slapped him “without any reason or justification,” the indictment stated.

Shortly after, while another police officer was detaining the boy, Marciano noticed a protester filming the incident.

The indictment stated that “the defendant grabbed the demonstrator by the back of his neck and pushed him hard to the ground, toward bushes in the vicinity.”

The PIID charged the senior officer with two counts of assault.

The indictment came amid a growing number of incidences of police violence that have been documented recently at demonstrations nationwide.

During a demonstration Sunday, hundreds of members of the hardline ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem Faction blocked the Route 4 highway to protest the arrest of a seminary student for failing to visit a draft office to arrange deferment of his mandatory conscription. Police said they were looking into video of a female officer punching an ultra-Orthodox man in the head while he was being arrested at the protest in Bnei Brak.

Separately, hundreds of right-wing protesters clashed with cops in Jerusalem Saturday evening over the death of a young settler in a car crash while fleeing police after allegedly throwing stones at Palestinians. Eleven policemen were injured, and two toddlers were hit by water from a police cannon.

A clip showed a policeman beating a protester at the demonstration.

Marciano is not the first senior police officer to be indicted for assault in recent times. A senior police officer was charged with assault in November for attacking two people at a demonstration against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, three months after footage emerged of him shoving and smacking protesters outside the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem.

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