Israeli prosecutors on Thursday charged a border police officer with reckless manslaughter in the deadly shooting of an autistic Palestinian man in ’s Old City last year.
The indictment came just over a year after the shooting of Eyad Hallaq. Hallaq’s family had previously criticised Israeli authorities’ investigation into his killing, and called for much tougher charges.
The officer, who remains unidentified in the indictment submitted to the Jerusalem District Court on Thursday, was charged with reckless manslaughter, and if convicted could face up to 12 years in prison.
Hallaq, 32, was fatally shot just inside the Old City’s Lion’s Gate on May 30, 2020, as he was on his way to the special-needs institution that he attended. The officer’s commander, who was also present during the incident, was not charged.
The area is a frequent site of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, and the Old City’s narrow streets are lined with hundreds of security cameras that are monitored by police. But as the investigation proceeded last summer, prosecutors claimed that none of the cameras in the area had worked, and there was no footage of the incident.
Prosecutors from the police internal investigations department said in a statement the decision to charge the officer “was made after deep examination of the evidence, examination of all the circumstances of the incident and the claims heard during the officer’s hearing”.
They said Hallaq’s death was a “serious and unfortunate incident” and the officer shot him “while he took an unreasonable risk that he would cause his death”.