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Israel Police close case against cop who killed mentally ill Ethiopian man

Ethiopian Jews gather for a solemn collective prayer at a small synagogue in Lamberet, a neighborhood adjacent the Israeli embassy in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on 23 February 2019. [Minasse Wondimu Hailu - Anadolu Agency]
Ethiopian Jews gather for a collective prayer at a small synagogue in Lamberet, a neighbourhood adjacent to the Israeli embassy in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on 23 February 2019 [Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency]

Israel Police announced on Tuesday "that it had closed the case against a policeman who shot and killed a mentally disturbed young Ethiopian man in January", reported Haaretz.

The police's Internal Investigations Department (known by its Hebrew acronym Mahash) stated that "no suspicion of criminal offenses was found because the victim, Yehuda Biadga, ran towards the policeman brandishing a knife", and he thus posed "a clear and present danger".

The family of Biadga – who was shot "from close range" – condemned the decision to close the case and said they intend to appeal.

According to Mahash, police were summoned "because Biadga left his home wearing a prayer shawl and holding a knife, after which his family asked acquaintances to notify the police."

READ: Protests in Tel Aviv against killing of Ethiopia Jew 

The investigations unit said that "in response to the policeman's call to throw away the knife, Biadga began to advance towards him at a run"; the police officer then fired twice.

David Biadga, Yehuda's brother, called the decision a disgrace. "I'm about to be drafted, and I'm afraid that a policeman will arrest me or shoot me in the street," he said.

"A place that's supposed to investigate policemen and to reach the truth protects the policemen. It doesn't end with my brother's shooting."

Biadga's brother-in-law said: "No policeman stood trial because it involved Ethiopians. We won't stop and we'll continue to fight until justice comes to light."

Family attorney Tzahi Lasri said "Mahash is whitewashing evidence", adding: "There was a feeling that the investigation, even before it began – was closed."

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