(July 9, 2019 / JNS) The Israeli Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department (PIID) said on Monday that the probe into the death of 19-year-old Solomon Tekah, who was shot by an off-duty policeman on June 30, has concluded that the officer fired his weapon at the ground and that Tekah was killed by a ricocheting bullet.
PIID chief Keren Bar Menachem met with the attorneys representing Tekah’s family at the ministry in Jerusalem, where she updated them on the progress of the investigation.
The officer, who cannot be named due to a gag order, claims that he and his family were visiting a park in Haifa on June 30 when they came under threat during a street fight in which Tekah was involved, and that he fired a warning shot towards the ground but the projectile rebounded, killing Tekah.
Tekah’s family, however, demanded that the officer be put on trial for murder.
Officials are now said to be leaning towards disciplinary measures rather than criminal charges, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 13 news.
Tekah’s death raised a firestorm of outrage in the Ethiopian Israeli community, which took to the streets in three days of protests that devolved into violent riots in several locations. Some reports indicated that the most destructive protests, which included the torching of cars and destruction of property, were backed by anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian activists.
Following police warnings that protests would be put down if they threatened the public, the demonstrations were halted for several days, but were expected to resume this week.
On Monday, Tekah’s parents and close family visited his grave at the Tel Regev cemetery for the first time since his funeral a week ago and called for justice.
His father, Worka Tekah, said, “I paid a heavy price, the community paid a heavy price,” adding, “I put my hope in the country’s judges, and it is their responsibility to ensure justice is done.“