By: Aryeh Savir
Israeli-Ethiopians took to the streets in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon after the Magistrate’s Court in Haifa released the policeman accused of shooting Solomon Tekah.
The police officer was under house arrest and was staying at a hotel since the incident. He was released home after the house arrest warrant ended.
The judge rejected a request presented by the Police’s Investigation Unit for a NIS 50,000 bond and other limitations to be set on the accused officer, saying there was no real concern of obstruction of justice. She did, however, agree to forbid the officer to enter the department he was working in and to use the police computer system.
The shooting, which ignited massive riots by Israelis of Ethiopian origin across the country, is still under investigation.
The rioters protested the death of Solomon Tekah, an 18-year-old Israeli of Ethiopian descent who was shot dead by a police officer during a scuffle earlier this month. The Ethiopian community claims he was wrongfully shot while the officer says he was acting in self-defense.
The riots included the torching of cars, the blocking of major routes, several incidents that almost ended with a lynching and the mass assault of rioters on police stations and police forces in several cities.
It is unclear at this stage what offense the policeman will be charged with.
Tekah’s family has been critical of the treatment the policeman has received so far and joined the demonstration outside the Knesset on Monday. The demonstrators blocked roads near the Knesset and while marching towards the Supreme Court, as police arrested seven protestors and fought back the demonstrators attempted to block roads in the center of the city.
Members of the Israeli-Ethiopian community began rioting on July 2nd, in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Throngs of angry protestors assaulted police forces and blocked major thoroughfares throughout the country.
In Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ashdod, Haifa, and on major routes throughout Israel, Israelis of Ethiopian descent were joined by others and rioted, threw rocks and firebombs at police, set fire to vehicles and blocked roads for over eight hours, leaving tens of thousands of motorists stranded in their cars.
In several incidents, the rioters launched fireworks at policemen and other police targets. After standing by for several hours, the police intervened and dispersed the riots with crowd-control means.
Some 85 people, including 47 police officers, were injured in the various violent incidents. Five of the injured incurred moderate injuries, while the rest were lightly injured. A total of 19 police vehicles were trashed or burned at the various riot scenes.
Medical teams treating both the police and the rioters were attacked by the protestors, and six ambulances and four emergency motorcycles were damaged by the demonstrators.
Firefighting teams that were called to the scenes of fires set by the rioters were attacked, and a fireman was taken to a hospital for treatment.
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