Ethiopian-Israeli soldier beaten by police sues for over $100,000

Assault on Ethiopian-Israeli soldier Damas Pakada caught on camera • Beating set off wave of protests by Ethiopian-Israelis, some violent • Pakada’s attorney Eyal Abulafia says his client’s beating highlights “violent, racist” police culture.

Zvi Harel
IDF soldier Damas Pakada | Photo credit: EPA
IDF soldier Damas Pakada | Photo credit: EPA

The event that sparked the recent wave of protests in Israel’s Ethiopian immigrant community has reached the courts: Damas Pakada, the soldier whose beating by police officers was caught on camera, has filed a lawsuit against the Israel Police and is demanding NIS 390,000 ($101,000) in compensation.

The defendants named in the suit are police officer Yan Subichky and a police volunteer.

In the introduction to the suit, filed in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court by attorney Eyal Abulafia on behalf of Pakada, Abulafia called the appalling incident “an indictment” against the organizational, racist and violent culture of the police. According to Abulafia, the beating serves as a glimpse into what takes place when the police constantly behave violently toward civilians.

Abulafia is claiming that the April 26 attack on his client occurred without any provocation on Pakada’s part, near the plaintiff’s home in Holon after a nearby street was cordoned off because of a possible bomb threat. After Subichky pushed Pakada for no reason, Abulafia stated, the soldier asked him, “Why are you using your hands?”

At that point, the suit alleges, the police officer pushed Pakada to the ground and beat him. The police volunteer also reportedly started beating him.

When Pakada tried to defend himself, he was thrown down on the stone floor of the adjacent courtyard and arrested on suspicion of attacking a police officer.

Pakada sustained injuries all over his body due to the incident in question.

The lawsuit also claims that Pakada was evacuated to the hospital while still cuffed at the hands and feet. After repeated requests, the police officers agreed to let “just” his feet remain bound to allow him to receive medical attention.

Pakada, 19, is currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces as a technician. He made aliyah eight years ago with his mother and four siblings after his father died.

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