Family of autistic Palestinian man killed by Israeli police told there is no security camera footage of incident


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The family of an autistic Palestinian man shot dead in error by Israeli Border Police officers is calling for an investigation after being told there is no security camera footage of the incident.

Iyad Halak, 32, was killed May 30 as he walked to the special needs institution where he studied and worked. The officers said they mistook his cellphone for a gun. Halak ignored orders to stop, likely because he didn’t understand the orders as a result of his autism, and fled on foot after the police continued to yell at him.

Haaretz reported Monday that there are no fewer than 10 private and security cameras in the approximately 160 yards between the Lion’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, where the chase began, and the garbage room where Halak hid and was shot to death.

His family was told those cameras were not connected “at the relevant time and did not record the shooting,” the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department said in a statement Monday, The Times of Israel reported. They are requesting an “in-depth investigation” into whether the police are concealing evidence.

There reportedly was an eyewitness to the incident. His caregiver told investigators that she told police Halak was disabled.

The police officer who shot and killed Halak was placed under house arrest.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident a “tragedy” and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the prime minister-designate, has apologized.

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