Family told no footage of shooting of autistic Palestinian

JERUSALEM (AP) — The family of an autistic Palestinian man who was killed by Israeli police was informed by investigators on Monday that a security camera at the site of the shooting was not working, their lawyer said.

The revelation raised new fears by the family of Eyad Hallaq that no one will be punished in the death of their son.

“We were informed today that the security camera in the place of the killing was not working, so there is no evidence about what happened,” said lawyer Jad Qadamani.

“This is totally unacceptable and not logical and we look at it with lots of suspicion,” he said.

Hallaq, who was 32, was fatally shot on May 30 just inside Jerusalem's Old City as he was making his daily walk to the special-needs institution he attended. At the time, Israeli police said they believed he was carrying a “suspicious object” and said they opened fire when he failed to heed calls to stop.

According to various accounts, two members of Israel’s paramilitary Border Police force chased Hallaq into a nook and shot him as he cowered next to a garbage bin. Hallaq’s teacher, who was with him, told an Israeli TV station that she repeatedly cried out to police that he was “disabled” as she tried to stop them. At least five bullet holes were seen in a wall of a small structure at the site.

At the time, the shooting drew comparisons to the death of George Floyd in the U.S. and prompted a series of small demonstrations against police violence. The uproar crossed Israeli-Palestinian lines and drew Jewish protesters as well, and Israeli leaders expressed regret over the shooting.

But since then, the family has complained about the slow pace of the investigation. They said that investigators only two weeks ago confirmed there was security-camera footage.

Qadamani said he would demand an investigation into Monday's claims that the camera did not work. “Clearly they want to hide what happened,” he said.

Israel's Justice Ministry, which is handling the investigation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Human rights groups say Israel has a poor record of prosecuting cases of violence against Palestinians.