Southern District Police Commander Maj.-Gen. Yossi Parienty has suspended a policewoman and municipal inspector for lying about their response to a noise complaint in a Beersheba neighborhood that led to the murder of resident Gadi Vichman.
Vichman, 36, was stabbed to death on Friday for asking a group of noisy loiterers at a nearby park to keep it down so that he could put his young daughter to sleep. Vichman and others in the neighborhood called police about the noise before Vichman himself went to confront them. Police originally stated that a patrol car did arrive on scene and, after not finding any sign of the youths, went on to deal with other calls. After getting witness reports from both Vichman's wife and the youths themselves, however, it became apparent that there was something wrong with the police report.
Parienty stated that he arrived at the murder scene that night and immediately questioned the policewoman and municipal inspector. The two claimed that they responded to the call and saw no sign of a disturbance and that the playground, near where the stabbing occurred, was empty. But Vichman's wife, who from her balcony watched the horrific events unfold, said that despite her calls no police car ever arrived. Parienty formed a separate investigation team to look into the policewoman's and inspector's version of the events.
Israel Hayom has learned that the lie was exposed after the interrogation of the youths involved in the incident. When asked if anyone had seen a police car or received a warning about the noise, the young adults responded that they had not. Both the report provided on scene, as well as the follow-up report by the police officer, were apparently false. The patrol car, it appears, never showed up.
"The investigation concluded that the policewoman and municipal inspector's conduct exposed a severe credibility issue," Parienty said. The investigation was transferred to police internal affairs, Parienty said. Meanwhile, Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich has fired the municipal inspector.
Parienty said he was not certain that the police arriving would have prevented Vichman's death.
Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said he would not tolerate dishonesty within the police force and would look into every level of the investigation. "A police officer should be a role model, especially when it comes to credibility and service," Danino said.
Vichman's bereaved wife, Michal, was "shocked" when she was told about the false report. "This bolsters my claim, and the claims of others, that policemen and municipal inspectors don't respond to the citizens' calls. I hope that they understand that because of their behavior, a man, my husband, was murdered. Since the tragic event I feel as if the two just lied and abused their position. It torments me to think that had they acted as they should have, Gadi would not have been murdered," she said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the primary suspect in the murder, Eden Ohayon, re-enacted the events on Wednesday at the scene of the crime, as Michal Vichman watched once more from her balcony. Ohayon claimed that he was attacked by Gadi Vichman, and that he acted in self defense.
"I want to see him [Ohayon] and look into his eyes, only to understand what was going on in his head when he brutally stabbed my husband to death, for nothing," Michal Vichman said. "He has no shame even to put on a kippah [skull cap], he didn't wear one when he murdered [Gadi]. Does he think that will save him from what he did? Now he is telling the police his story, but on the day of the murder he was cocky. When we told him we would call the police he said he was waiting for them."