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MSNBC’s Diaz-Balart to Israeli Police: There Didn’t Seem To Be An ‘Imminent Danger’ From Man Running With Knife

MSNBC host Jose Diaz-Balart pressed Israeli Police Foreign Press Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld on whether the shooting of a man who ran past Israeli police with what the Israeli police say was a knife was justified, saying it seemed that “there was no imminent danger where he was shot” on Wednesday’s MSNBC Live.

Roesnfeld stated that the man “had a knife, a 20-centimeter knife, that he tried to attack security guards, a quick police response at the scene by units that are in and around the area, shot and killed the suspect. There was no other option, due to the fact that it was life — danger[ous] and threatening situation to our police officers there.”

Diaz-Balart then asked, “It seems as though this individual, who did have a camouflage t-shirt, camouflage pants, did have what appears to be a a knife in his right hand. We have something else in his left hand. We’ve been able to actually clearly see this, Micky, but it didn’t seem, that in the area where he was shot, there was anybody nearby. There were no civilians, this this was a very well-protected and sparse area. It happened about, what, 3:00 in the afternoon your time? But it seems as though, in the area, there was no imminent danger where he was shot, as we see this video.”

Rosenfeld countered, “The main danger is, at the moment, to our police officers that are in and around and located into the different areas, as well as to Israeli civilians that are walking around. The potential threat and danger is almost immediate. We’re seeing those lone-wolf attacks that are taking place. … If our police officers wouldn’t have been today at the Damascus Gate, somebody else would have been killed. If our police officers wouldn’t have responded so quickly, as they did yesterday, to the bus attack, more Israelis would have been killed.

Diaz-Balart then asked, “Bringing it back though to this incident, I mean, a person with a knife running past police, and then into an area where there are no apparent other civilians, does this warrant 12, 14 gunshots, semi-automatic and automatic gunfire when he’s got his hands up, with a knife in his hand?”

Rosenfeld responded, “That’s absolutely correct. Now, we’re talking about life-threatening situations to our officers. We expect our officers to shoot and neutralize the terrorists, and certain terrorist attacks have taken place over the last ten days, in fact, since the 3rd of October, our police officers have managed to neutralize, altogether, 12 terrorists, but in other cases we’ve had to shoot and kill terrorists, altogether nine terrorists have been shot and killed until now. You have to understand these are split-second decisions that our police officers make, and we expect any police officer on the ground, in the same way as one would expect any police officer across the country as well, and other countries, and European countries to make split-second decisions and respond accordingly.”

Diaz-Balart continued to press, asked, “I mean, if someone is running away from officials, into an area where there are no civilians, or at least nearby, and he’s running away from the officials with a knife in his hand, that is — his shooting death is warranted?”

Rosenfeld answered, “Each case, as I mentioned, is different. each terrorist attack is different. each scenario changes. each one of our officers has the full responsibility to act accordingly, and that’s exactly what they do. When they’re in a life threatening situation, our police officers respond. Each of the terrorist attacks that take place, our police officers are trained, are ready, and standing on patrol in order to respond to those terrorist attacks. Our officers are in life-threatening situations. It’s not regular police patrol. It’s not a police patrol that is taking place — you have to understand the atmosphere on the ground level is incitement within the Israeli-Arab community. We’ve seen over the last couple of days, incitement, amongst the social networks, all over the place, amongst the Israeli-Arab community, calling upon individuals, minors, terrorists to potentially — and to carry out attacks against, both Israeli police officers, as well as Israelis, which is unacceptable. These people, they’re part of our society, within the Israeli national police in the Old City, we have 300 policemen, that are non-Jewish, and that are Christians, and that are Muslim. They’re part of our society. These people live with us. They’re part of our society, and it’s very important that the tensions that there are, and the ongoing attacks that have taken place have to be prevented and stopped, and that’s why Israel, as well as the Israeli national police are taking all necessary steps, using all the tools that we have, at this moment in time, both in the Old City itself, as well as in the different Israeli-Arab neighborhoods, and we’re carrying out regular security assessments in order to be ready, and respond if necessary to any further attacks.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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