More than 130 policemen who have been convicted of criminal offenses are currently in active police service, according to material Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan recently gave Meretz leader Zehava Galon.
Erdan replied to Galon’s parliamentary question regarding the case of a policeman who remained in uniform despite being convicted of violently assaulting detainees.
“This is another indication of the ethical rot in Israel Police,” Galon said. “It’s unacceptable that policemen who have committed criminal offenses should continue in their job.”
The case that prompted Galon’s question pertained to former policeman Yishai Siman Tov, who was sentenced by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court to seven months in prison in April for beating up a suspect at the police station some five years ago.
Siman Tov had been on a routine patrol on his motorcycle when he found a small knife in a suspect’s car in Tel Aviv. He took the suspect, Yosef Hamisa, to the police station, where he attacked him with blows, kicking him in the chest and stomach. Hamisa suffered fractures in his ribs and other injuries.
This wasn’t Siman Tov’s first violent incident. Two years earlier, in August 2008, he slapped a female detainee at the police station twice, perforating her ear and causing her other injuries.
A month later he and another policeman beat up another person at the police station. Siman Tov was convicted of both assaults and sentenced to community service and suspended prison sentence.
However, despite the similarity between the complaints against Siman Tov and despite the legal processes against him, his police service was terminated only in 2011.
Erdan gave Galon only partial information regarding the police force’s handling cases of cops who were convicted of criminal offenses, especially violent ones.
Erdan did not disclose the kind of offenses committed by the 132 policemen currently serving in the force, or if they were committed as part of their police work.
He said, however, that the courts did not attach moral turpitude to their crimes, which weren’t that serious, as indicated by the penalties, which ranged from suspended sentences through community service to fines.
Erdan said 21 policemen were fired this year after being convicted of crimes or following disciplinary procedures. Last year the number of convicted cops who were fired was 34, and in 2013 it was 40.
“The figures reveal an absurd situation in which the public has no defense from the policemen who are supposed to protect it and abuse their power,” Galon said.
She said that after the Knesset recess she will call for a debate in the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on the issue.
“It’s unthinkable that people with a record of violent assaults walk around in police uniforms without any proper supervision and without any decision being made about their continued employment,” she said.