About 3,000 people demonstrated on Saturday night in front of the police national headquarters and the Ministry of Internal Security in Jerusalem, protesting the killing of Ahuvia (Ahuvya) Sandak by officers from the Judea and Samaria District Police during a car chase in Binyamin on December 21.
The Department of Police Investigations (DIP) announced on Thursday that it had begun investigating the incident in Benjamin following which the late Ahuvia Sandak was found dead next to a vehicle that had been reportedly rammed and was overturned by a speeding police car.
As part of the investigation, four police officers were questioned with a warning, and testimonies were collected from other police officers. DIP stated that the entire incident, with all the suspicions that arise from it regarding the civilians involved, including their part in causing the death of the deceased, was being investigated by the Israel Police.
The demonstrators called on Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana (Likud) to take away from police the power to investigate itself, and instead establish an external commission of inquiry to investigate the conduct of the JS District Police. The demonstrators also called for closing down the JS police station.
Some 26 protesters were arrested on Saturday night throughout Jerusalem following the police killing of the young Jewish man. Among the detainees are 12 minors, some of whom are only 14 years old. The main demonstration took place in front of the police national headquarters, where light trains were blocked and many traffic arteries were shut down for long hours. The highway junction at the entrance to Jerusalem was blocked temporarily by demonstrators.
The detainees reported severe police violence and complained about being held for long hours on a bus before being brought to a police station for interrogations.
In many videos that were posted on social networks, a policeman can be seen punching one of the demonstrators, following which his fellow officers restrained him and took him away.
Police activated 3 hoses that sprayed stink water at demonstrators who were standing on the sidewalks as well as at people standing within the area that was pre-approved by the police. Women, children, and passers-by were injured in the hose attacks. Babies and children were reported to have been thrown down to the sidewalk by the strong gush of stinking fluid.
Late last week, MK Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina) sharply criticized the conduct of JS police officers from the Knesset podium, saying, “This is a tragic and very serious incident with an unacceptable outcome which must be investigated. The police officers involved in the incident were not arrested and it is doubtful whether they were even questioned. I’m afraid there will be some who will try to obscure and whitewash and not get to the truth, as we’ve seen before in such cases.”
MK Smotrich also demanded the closing down of the “morally corrupt” JS police station which “treats the Jewish youth in Judea and Samaria like terrorists.”
MK Yitzhak Pindros (United Torah Judaism) told the family of the late Ahuvia Sandak in Bat Ayin that the investigation of the case should be conducted by an outside body.
“What happened out there on the road was a crime that needs to be investigated by an outside body, not by someone investigating himself,” he said. “Nowhere in the world does an agency investigate itself, it requires an external body that will check exactly what went on there, before anything else.”
Justice Alex Stein ruled on Friday that the High Court of Justice would hear as soon as possible the petition of the Sandak family, which is represented by the Honenu legal aid society.
In the petition, filed by Honenu attorney Menashe Yado, the High Court was asked to order the Tel Aviv Police Department to immediately stop investigating the death of Ahuvia Sandak. The petition cited the fact that the law prohibits the police from engaging in an investigation of offenses police officers are suspected of committing.
The petition states that “the suspicion against the police officers is that the death was caused as a direct result of the police vehicle hitting the fleeing vehicle. As a result of the high-speed chase in which the vehicles were involved, the fleeing vehicle was thrown a long way off the side of the road and in the process, the deceased was killed. The petitioners filed a complaint with the DIP against the police officers for the offense of homicide by indifference, under section 300 (a) of the Penal Code. The detailed factual circumstances above establish an infrastructure for the existence of indifference that rises to the level of intent to commit murder.”
Judge Stein’s decision came after the state responded to the petition on Friday morning asking the court to reject the petition outright and allow the combined investigation team of DIP and Tel Aviv Police to continue investigating the youth’s death. Judge Stein denied the state’s request and ordered a hearing as soon as possible on the petition.