Proposed Knesset Bill Requires Israeli Police Officers to Wear Cameras During Arrests
A freshman Israeli lawmaker has proposed a bill that would require uniformed police officers to wear cameras to document arrests, Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Knesset Member Abraham Neguise (Likud) dubbed his proposal the “Damas Pakada Law,” named after the Ethiopian-Israeli soldier who was filmed being beaten by uniformed police officers.
Neguise’s bill would amend Israel’s Criminal Procedure Law, specifically a section entitled “Enforcement Powers – Arrests,” and is intended to act as a deterrent to police violence.
Neguise, who is an Ethiopian-Israeli and a well known activist for the community, said that the initiative will also serve to “reduce the number of false complaints of police brutality.”
He said a similar law in effect across several cities in the United States has already produced positive results.
Neguise said that the law would “solve the issue of police violence directed at Ethiopian Jews in Israel, and against all Israeli civilians.”
Knesset Members from various factions are expected to sign onto Neguise’s bill over the coming days, reported Israel’s Channel 2 News.
The bill’s namesake, Damas Pakada, 21, emigrated to Israel as an orphan from Ethiopia with his four siblings seven years ago.
His apparently unjustified assault by uniformed police officers in the city of Holon was caught on video and made headline news around the world. The footage showed two uniformed policemen pummeling Pakada, who alleged that he was the target of a racist attack.
In the clip, Pakada is seen riding a bicycle when, he says, he saw the two officers and asked them what they were up to. At that point, one of them confronted him, pushed him off his bike, and began to punch the soldier. The officer then pushed Pakada to the ground, as his partner joined in, and the two are seen violently restraining Pakada.
Pakada says that the officer threatened to shoot him in the head. He is then seen in the video picking up a rock to defend himself, causing the police officers to back away from him.
The incident set off protests and demonstrations by Ethiopian Israelis across the country, and drew condemnation from top Israeli politicians, including President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu later met for a face-to-face with Pakada.