Israel Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino said on Tuesday that an officer who was filmed beating an IDF soldier from Israel’s Ethiopian community will be expelled from the force, pending a hearing.
“The brutal cop was immediately suspended and he will also be fired pending a hearing,” Danino said. “There is no room for such officers in the Israel Police.”
The clip, that emerged on Monday, showed Ethiopian soldier Damas Pakada, being attacked by two policemen the day before. Police said the second man was a volunteer policeman, and noted that he would no longer be allowed to serve with the police.
“This is a very serious incident on every level,” Danino said. “This is how we look at it and this is how we looked at all violent incidents in the past,” the police commissioner added. “I said this before and I say this again: We follow a very clear path. Whoever won’t walk it – won’t be with us.”
The clash took place in Holon, south of Tel Aviv, on Sunday evening, where police were cordoning off a street due to a suspicious object.
“I feel terrible, and humiliated. This is a disgrace to the State of Israel,” Pakada, who claimed it was a racist attack, told Channel 2, Monday. “It’s because of [my] skin color,” he said.
After the footage was obtained by Pakada’s family, he was released from custody, with police promising to investigate the matter.
Pakada, a 21-year-old orphan who emigrated from Ethiopia with his four siblings seven years ago, told Channel 10 that he was riding his bicycle when he noticed the two officers.
He said that he asked them what they were up to and one of them confronted him and pushed him off his bike, saying, “I can do whatever I want.”
He said that the officer threatened to shoot him in the head, and that they only let up after he backed away and lifted a rock.
Several police officers then detained the soldier for alleged assault, although the footage showed that Pakada did not attack them with the rock in his hand.
Despite the incident, Danino claimed that incidents of police violence were on the decline.
“There is a sharp drop in acts of police violence,” he said. “We will continue this trend and not let this kind of incident stand in the very clear way walked by the Israel Police.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.