The findings of the official ballistic report indicate that the police officer who last week caused the death of Salomon Takka, 18, an Ethiopian man from the Haifa area, fired at the ground, as per the rules of engagement in an urban area, and a resulting shrapnel caused Takka’s death, Channel 13 News reported Monday afternoon.
The findings confirmed the version of the policeman who claimed to have fired at the floor, and questions the veracity of claims that Israeli police are quick with the trigger when it comes to Ethiopians.
The young man’s death rattled all of Israel last week, and is expected to continue this week, as many thousands of Ethiopian Israelis and their supporters blocked dozens of main intersections for as many as four hours, burned tires, threw rocks, engaged in violence against police officers and in a few cases assaulted motorists who were fleeing for their lives.
Several demonstrations took place on Sunday, and at 5 PM Monday the grieving family is planning a mass demonstration at the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv, where tens of thousands of cars were trapped by demonstrators last week.
The family’s lawyers asked for the findings of the autopsy and of the ballistic report, and the IAD and State Prosecutor’s Office promised to give the request their consideration.
Assaf Gabbana, head of the Ethiopian community in Kiryat Haim, spoke over Takka’s grave at the conclusion of the shiva week, and took offense with a statement made by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s son, Yair, blaming the New Israel Fund for the violence and damage caused by the demonstrations.
“Mr. Prime Minister, your son cannot write this about the community even at this painful hour,” Gabbana said. “Yair’s statement is hurtful and offensive, when it’s the prime minister who is responsible. It’s time you heard the people’s shouts, heard the street. There is nothing that committees and meetings can do, it can’t be that we would be the ones paying the price. Enough, we are fed up with the conclusions and the committees. Take personal responsibility and show leadership, come to the family, look them in the eyes. You know this – do something real.”
Despite the ballistic report, which only confirms the way the policeman shot Takka, it is not clear how the incident happened. The policeman reported that he was off duty, sitting in the local park with his family, when a brawl erupted among a group of Ethiopian youths. He tried to break up the fight, but their response was to hurl stones at him, a reaction he considered dangerous enough to merit a warning shot.
Israeli media questioned a police leak according to which the deceased incurred 14 criminal complaints – a questionable leak considering he was a minor at the time of those complaints. A thorough but fast investigation into the facts of the case could go a long way to alleviate tensions between Ethiopian Israelis and all the other Israelis, but, naturally, investigations can be either thorough or fast.