Cops in crisis: How politics is subverting the Israel Police

Ministerial interference, foot-dragging over the appointment of a permanent police chief, loss of legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and wildly varying enforcement policies from district to district: These are some of the problems which have led senior officers – past and present – to warn that the force is facing the severest crisis in its history. A Shomrim analysis.

Ministerial interference, foot-dragging over the appointment of a permanent police chief, loss of legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and wildly varying enforcement policies from district to district: These are some of the problems which have led senior officers – past and present – to warn that the force is facing the severest crisis in its history. A Shomrim analysis.

Ministerial interference, foot-dragging over the appointment of a permanent police chief, loss of legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and wildly varying enforcement policies from district to district: These are some of the problems which have led senior officers – past and present – to warn that the force is facing the severest crisis in its history. A Shomrim analysis.

Roni Singer

A woman in a clown-police officer costume during a demonstration in Jerusalem. Photo: Reuters

November 24, 2020

Summary

M

oments before Israel’s second lockdown went into effect, 45 former high-ranking police officers got together in the VIP hall at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium. Most of the force’s retired chiefs, commissioners and deputy commissioners were in attendance. On the agenda was the dismal state of the Israel Police, and the mood was gloomy.

It’s difficult even to convey just how unusual an event it was: Retired police officers tend to continue to identify with the system and to give it their full support, long after they have left the service. They come to its defense in the media, express views that their colleagues still in uniform are unable to voice, and they remain deeply connected to the organization that nurtured them. The event at Bloomfield Stadium, just like the correspondence in a WhatsApp group of 85 former senior police officers, proves that, over the past few months, a crack is appearing in this automatic wall of solidarity and support.

An increasingly popular topic of discussion among the group – ever since the airing, both in the media and online, of video clips showing police officers arresting and cuffing civilians who weren’t wearing masks or refused to cooperate with the police – is sparked by an often-repeated rhetorical question: “What’s become of us?” Many have also expressed a sense of discomfort over reports that undercover police have infiltrated protest rallies. The most significant and crucial issue that keeps coming up among the group, however, revolves around the question of why the interim police chief, Deputy Commissioner Moti Cohen, has remained in his role without the backing of a permanent appointment and hasn’t packed up and left. Opinions on this issue, unlike others, were split.

“Moti’s genuinely torn,” explains one senior police official who knows Cohen well. “I know that people close to him have recently been advising to turn over the keys and go home. And the thought has crossed his mind, too, more than just once. But he’s trapped; if he decides to leave now, he’ll be seen to be deserting the force. You have to remember, he comes from a home that’s police through and through. If I were him, I’d walk into the minister’s office and hand him an ultimatum: Make my appointment permanent – or I’m gone. It’s not just his honor that’s on the line; it’s the honor of the police as a whole.”

Some senior officers, however, think differently and leap to Cohen’s defense. “By getting up and walking out now, Moti would be serving the political echelon,” one says. “The fact that he’s been in the post for two years now, albeit as an interim appointment, is safeguarding the police. His departure would shake the system, bring in someone new who doesn’t know the job, and allow the political echelon to interfere even more. By doggedly remaining in his post, despite everything he’s going through, and the high price he’s paying, he’s serving and protecting the police.”

“Moti’s genuinely torn,” explains one senior police official who knows Cohen well. “he’s trapped; if he decides to leave now, he’ll be seen to be deserting the force. If I were him, I’d walk into the minister’s office and hand him an ultimatum: Make my appointment permanent – or I’m gone. It’s not just his honor that’s on the line; it’s the honor of the police as a whole.”
Interim Police Chief, Deputy Commissioner Moti Cohen. Photo: Israel Police

Shomrim has spoken in recent weeks with several former and current high-ranking police officers, commissioners and deputy commissioners who are very familiar with the police force and Cohen himself, and there’s one thing they all agree on: The Israel Police is in the throes of a profound crisis that stems primarily from the fact that the appointment of a permanent police chief has been on hold for years. Senior officers interviewed for this article – including Commissioner Moshe Karadi, Deputy Commissioner David Tsur, Deputy Commissioner Bruno Stein and Deputy Commissioner Bentzi Sau – describe the current situation as “a screw-up,” “a fiasco,” and “a serious problem.” Others, such as Meni Yitzhak, Assaf Hefetz, Shlomo Aharonishky and Ilan Franco, have used similar language in closed forums and opinion pieces.

These former officers all agree that the decision not to appoint a commissioner is not an accident. They believe that it’s deliberate and is designed to weaken the force and give the Public Security Ministry more sway over its work. “It will take the police years to recover from the crisis in which it finds itself at present,” former police commissioner Moshe Karadi told Shomrim. “I’m looking on from the wings and it hurts to see the place it’s in.”

Who’s the boss?

In December 2018, following the retirement of then-police chief Roni Alsheikh, the commander of the Israel Police’s Southern District, Deputy Commissioner Moti Cohen, was appointed acting commissioner. Cohen likes to tell his friends he didn’t ask for the position, but, once it was offered to him, he jumped at the opportunity. He was called to the flag by then-public security minister Gilad Erdan and reported for duty within 48 hours, even though, as he claims, sitting in the hot seat in the fifth-floor bureau at National Police Headquarters in Jerusalem was never his heart’s desire.

The Cohen family has already had one commissioner; Moti’s older brother, Dudi Cohen, served as police chief from 2007 to 2011. There were whispers from within the police that Moti was moving up the ladder with the help of his brother, initially as commander of the Yarkon District, and thereafter as deputy commander of the Central District, and in 2010, the State Comptroller even looked into the matter. The two brothers remain very close, “but Moti plays it down,” says one senior officer. “Maybe he’s concerned about being seen as someone who’s being helped by his brother. As I see things, there’s nothing wrong with consulting with former commissioners, and it doesn’t look bad.”

Cohen, who loathes dealing with the media, is a cop to the core. He grew up in a house of police, started out in junior positions, and went through the entire operational route, including service as commander of two districts. “The senior staff knows he’s one of us, flesh of our flesh, and that when he says something, he’s talking from a place of knowledge because he comes from the field,” a senior officer says.

Sources within the police force define Cohen’s actions as “quiet revolutions” ahead of his appointment as permanent commissioner, mentioning, inter alia, organizational changes that prioritize the various police stations and the upgrading of the cyber system. The sources also speak of backlogs of years that have been freed up recently, like those at the forensic laboratories, and additional changes in the Arab and ultra-Orthodox sectors, noting, too, the significant changes in the management of the police budget and streamlining measures such as the unification of divisions and systems, and cuts in staff and vehicle expenditure.

“Don’t misread him,” says one senior officer, “Moti is quiet and dignified. He shies away from the media and personal publicity, and he’ll never say a bad word about his predecessors who are criticizing him now. His quiet manner may be misleading, but he’s a sharp and determined commander who has the wherewithal to make decisions for the good of the police – and most importantly, detached from politics.”

"Moti was a district commander under me and I appreciate his restraint and special character,” says retired deputy commissioner David Tsur. “He’s a company man who has dignity, and both work in his favor in the situation that has arisen.”

The “situation” that Tsur is talking about is the fact that the Israel Police has been functioning for almost two years now without a commissioner, and just recently, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced that there was no justification for the ongoing delay in making a permanent appointment. “I’d struggle to defend the government’s conduct before the High Court of Justice,” Mandelblit wrote in an opinion he published.

“Could you imagine the army operating for two years without a chief of staff?” Karadi asks. “Could you imagine a public company with a budget of millions, and 30,000 employees, operating without a CEO? This is what’s happening in the Israel Police, and no one seems to care. If the failure to appoint a commissioner itself was my initial concern, I now fear that it could be a deliberate strategy. As a police officer and a citizen, my understanding of the situation is that either this entity isn’t important enough to the state, or they don’t want it to be strong enough. Nowadays, police officers are sitting in their patrol cars and saying: The people in charge aren’t appointing a boss for us. They don’t care.”

According to Tsur, “The situation is being exploited and it’s playing into the hands of the public security minister. A weak acting commissioner gives the political echelon unprecedented powers, and it shouldn’t have such powers when it comes to managing the police.”

Moshe Karadi: "If the failure to appoint a commissioner itself was my initial concern, I now fear that it could be a deliberate strategy. As a police officer and a citizen, my understanding of the situation is that either this entity isn’t important enough to the state, or they don’t want it to be strong enough."

Moshe Karadi, Former Police Commissioner. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO

Unlike all the other most senior positions in the defense establishment – army chief, Shin Bet director and even the head of the Mossad – the police commissioner enjoys absolute independence. He doesn’t need ministerial authorization for operations and isn’t even obligated to update the minister on operational decisions.

“There’s good reason why there’s been friction between all the police commissioners and their respective ministers,” says Karadi, who served as police chief from 2004 to 2007. “Even Roni Alsheikh is seen as a commissioner who ‘turned on’ the person who appointed him. The minister always wants to appoint someone who won’t be adversarial, but the position itself creates friction. The commissioner makes decisions on his own; that’s his ultimate role in the system, and he doesn’t owe anything to anyone or anything other than the system.”

Karadi recounts that on one occasion during his time as commissioner, the public security minister at the time paid a visit to Kiryat Ata, returned with the impression that crime in the area was on the rise. He called Karadi to ask him to beef up the police presence in the city. “I rejected his request because I was the one responsible for dealing with crime and allocating the resources,” Karadi says. “Today, under the current circumstances, Moti Cohen can’t say that because he’s merely the acting commissioner. He’s supposed to appease his masters and not create problems.”

Senior police officials share the view that a permanent commissioner must be appointed soon, and words such as “mismanagement” and “serious problem” can be heard in the corridors of the National Police Headquarters too. But as far as Cohen’s apparent weakness is concerned, things look different from their perspective.

“Everyone’s talking in the media and on Twitter, everyone’s got something to say and advice to dole out, but the police are still working. Investigations are continuing, much to the displeasure of certain people. Even internal discussions about promotions that were at an impasse are now going ahead again, because Cohen decided not to wait any longer. The police have a bigger budget now because of the coronavirus crisis, and the bottom line is that the police force is independent and functioning as it should be,” says one senior officer. Another officer speaks glowingly about Cohen’s dignified approach, which has helped him disregard the voices trying to weaken the police and damage him personally.

Meanwhile, the Forum of Retired Police Officers recently declared that it intends to petition the High Court of Justice if no permanent commissioner is appointed. This is their way of throwing their weight behind Cohen. In response to the criticism, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana blamed Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party for politically motivated impasse over senior appointments.

The interference minister

Ohana took over the reins at the Public Security Ministry in May, to much fanfare, following a brief stint as justice minister. In both roles, he has not held back in his criticism of the organization under his authority.

“I am critical of the police over its handling of Netanyahu’s cases and other things. I am not happy to see the police behaving sometimes like ‘thought police’,” Ohana said in a recent interview with an online news site, echoing the same message he’s expressed in other interviews too.

The minister makes a point of saying in his interviews that he doesn’t intervene in the work of the police, but only outlines policy. Sources within the police, however, beg to differ, saying that public security ministers have always tried to intervene in their work. Over the years, they say, there hasn’t been a single district commander who didn’t get calls from the minister’s office. “But the situation has become far more acute of late,” Tsur says. “Each minister seems to be saying: ‘I’m the elected official, so how come the police commissioner isn’t doing as I say? We’re the ones who appointed him.’”

The following is a recent example: On October 14, police from the Jerusalem District entered a home in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood where a wedding was taking place with around 100 people in attendance, contrary to the COVID-19 regulations. The incident became violent when police tried to disperse the gathering. Ministers Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) and Aryeh Deri (Shas) came out strongly against the police, with the latter going as far as to call for the prime minister to intervene. Ohana, for his part, wasted no time in announcing an inquiry into the incident, with sources in the police telling of an exchange of harsh messages between the offices of the police commissioner and the minister.

Ohana wanted the particulars of the incident, including the names of the police officers who participated in dispersing the wedding and the images from the body cams they were wearing. Cohen responded in writing that the material Ohana was requesting was part of the inquiry underway by the Police Internal Investigations Department and refused to hand it over to the minister’s office. Ohana’s second demand for the material was also met with a refusal.

Former Commissioner Karadi :“Could you imagine the army operating for two years without a chief of staff? Could you imagine a public company with a budget of millions, and 30,000 employees, operating without a CEO? This is what’s happening in the Israel Police, and no one seems to care."

Minister Amir Ohana, Public Security Office. Photo: Reuters

This wasn’t the first confrontation between Cohen and Ohana. In August, Ohana sent a letter addressed to the head of the Police Prosecution Department, Assistant Commissioner Dado Zamir, protesting his department’s decision to file indictments against a group of youths who, in violation of the law, recited Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount. Ohana expressed his strong opposition to the decision. Aside from the problematic content of the letter itself, police officials were outraged by the fact that the minister had chosen to make a direct approach to an officer with the rank of assistant commissioner and hadn’t taken up the matter with the acting police chief. Zamir took the letter to Cohen, who backed the decision to file the indictments and then made it clear to the minister that matters of such kind must go through him alone.

“It’s hard for me to even conceive a minister having the gall to send a letter to the head of the Prosecution Department,” Karadi says. “It’s astounding intervention in the work of the police.”

The most recent incident between the parties concerned the minister’s involvement in calls for police to investigate why neighbors of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit were questioned by cops after voicing criticism of him. This time, Ohana sent his complaint to Cohen, but he also sent a copy the commander of the Central District, Ami Eshed, and the head of the Police Investigations Division, Yigal Ben-Shalom – both of whom have the same rank as Cohen. The attempt to belittle Cohen before his charges didn’t go unnoticed in the fifth-floor office at National Police Headquarters, and the minister’s office was informed in no uncertain terms – once again – that such matters must be taken up with Cohen only. Cohen also instructed Eshed and Ben-Shalom not to maintain direct contact with the minister’s office.

Bypassing the commissioner

Police sources have confirmed in conversations with Shomrim that ever since Ohana assumed the role of public security minister, his office has maintained unmediated contact with district commanders and other high-ranking officers over Cohen’s head. It’s important to stress, however, that Ohana didn’t invent the wheel.

“During my time, too, the minister was known to have contacted district commanders directly on occasion, but I was able to put a stop to it,” says Deputy Commissioner Bentzi Sau, who served as acting police chief for a few months in 2015 and is probably more familiar with Cohen’s situation than anyone else. “This isn’t an accepted norm. The police force is a hierarchical entity, and every directive goes through the commissioner’s office. When I learned that the political echelon sought an opinion on a certain matter from one of my district commanders, I made it clear that all demands and requests would go through me.”

In the absence of a permanent commissioner, the minister has the power to intervene. “The minister is constantly commenting on commissioner policy that doesn’t fall under his purview,” says one senior officer. “He voiced his opinion about the blocking of roads and concerning the arrest of [retired] Brigadier General Amir Haskel.”

The officer is referring to the fact that among other things, Ohana wrote on his Facebook page that the police would show “zero tolerance for the blocking of roads in the framework of demonstrations – and that goes for the LGBT community, the Ethiopians, the disabled, the self-employed, the performance artists, and supporters or opponents of the prime minister.” The minister’s comments were a clear expression of support for actions taken by Jerusalem District commanders against the protesters outside the prime minister’s residence on Balfour Street.

Bentzi Sau, Former Deputy Commissioner. Photo: Mark Newman, GPO

On another occasion, Ohana used his Twitter account to slam the conduct of Tel Aviv police, after the district commander decided to provide security for an illegal demonstration during which protesters blocked roads. “You have to understand that the commander in the field is the one who determines whether or not to permit protestors to violate the law and block roads, and for how long,” Karadi explains, with Tsur adding: “In general, I’d expect a district commander who receives a directive from the minister’s office to call Moti and say: ‘I’ve been given an instruction. What do you say?’ It’s an untenable situation.”

In recent months, Cohen has contacted Ohana’s office several times following incidents in which he’s been told by his district commanders about approaches “over his head,” demanding that the minister cease such actions. At the same time, Cohen has again urged his senior officers to inform him of any approach from the minister’s office. However, at this point in time, with every deputy commissioner thinking perhaps that he could be the next police chief, there’s concern that district commanders may be making decisions with an eye first and foremost on the minister’s office rather than Cohen’s. The possibility that within the police are those who wish to appease the minister is a theory the high-ranking officers, past and present, with whom we spoke struggle to accept.

“Do you honestly think there are assistant commissioners who ask themselves if the minister is going to like what they do or not?” asks one senior officer. “That’s not to say there aren’t any brown-nosers, but the police system isn’t political,” Tsur adds. “What can you do if people are sometimes promoted due to their connections too, but the police force itself isn’t political and the law comes first,” a third officer stresses.

Despite such resolute statements, it’s hard to ignore the impact of statements from politicians over the head of the acting commissioner. “There’s no need for things to be said explicitly. The district commanders read the tweets and headlines and can tell which way the wind is blowing,” says one police officer, pointing to the differences in the conduct of the police in the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv districts, particularly their handling of anti-Netanyahu protests and the government’s coronavirus policies. We’ll get back to this.

A senior police officer at National Police Headquarters rejects claims that there is a lack of uniformity between districts in terms of enforcement. “Commanders make decisions on the go; that’s just the way it is,” he says. “You can’t do copy-and-paste from one district to the next. A demonstration on Balfour Street isn’t always the same as a demonstration in Bnei Brak, but the general policy that Cohen lays down is clear to everyone; and the fact is, even after the minister said he wouldn’t allow roads to blocked, they were.”

Each district to itself

The political echelon’s disdain for the head of the Israel Police, the foot-dragging in appointing a permanent commissioner, and perhaps also Cohen’s lack of charisma, have led to ever-increasing charges that he lacks authority. “Moti didn’t build up his authority as a dominant commander in his first six months, and hasn’t done so during the time since either,” says a recently retired high-ranking officer. “He’s not the type of commander that people follow with any enthusiasm, and that’s particularly apparent given that the senior staff is made up of officers who see themselves as commissioner material.”

Names that have come up as potential candidates for the top job include Northern District Commander Assistant Commissioner Shimon Lavi, Jerusalem District Commander Doron Yadid, and Cohen’s deputy, Alon Assor. Names of retired police officers, such as Assistant Commissioner Yoram Halevi, have also been touted.

Ohana, for his part, has recently started interviewing candidates for the position, although it’s widely believed that the talks are merely for show, and that barring a resolution of the conflict concerning public appointments between Blue and White and Netanyahu’s Likud, there won’t be any decision on the matter – unless the High Court forces the political echelon to make a permanent appointment. One way or another, Cohen himself hasn’t been called in for an interview. “The minister doesn’t need to interview him; he’s familiar with his work,” say sources close to Cohen.

In recent months, Assistant Commissioner Doron Yadid has been in charge of policing the stormy protests outside the prime minister’s office residence, and his Jerusalem police have also had to deal with enforcing the coronavirus regulations in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. Police adopted a heavy-handed approach against protesters on Balfour Street, whereas enforcement in the ultra-Orthodox sector, some claim, was less stringent.

Tel Aviv, too, saw incidents of heavy-handed police action against protesters, and undercover officers were sent to demonstrations to arrest people for not wearing masks; but as time went by, the disparity between the police’s conduct in Jerusalem and the handling of affairs by the commander of the Tel Aviv District, Assistant Commissioner David Bitan, who isn’t a candidate for the post, grew wider.

“Tel Aviv District Police internalized the criticism and learned the lessons. There are some in the police who understand that their job is to defend democracy, the rule of law, and human and civil rights, and not to intimidate anti-government protesters,” attorney and activist Daniel Haklai, who has represented some of the protesters, wrote recently, adding that the organizers of the protests remain in ongoing contact with the Tel Aviv District Police. “Now we have to focus on the police in the Jerusalem District, where, unfortunately, worrying things are happening, some of which are a real disgrace,” he wrote.

Indeed, over the last few weekends, the differences between the districts have been plain to see. While roadblocks in Tel Aviv were tolerated, the Jerusalem District Police adopted a tough approach and forcibly arrested demonstrators. Many believe that this is no coincidence; others think differently. “It comes down, in the field, to an operational decision taken by the commander at the scene of the incident,” says retired assistant commissioner Bruno Stein, former commander of the Central District. “I always thought that roads should never be blocked. But it’s okay to decide differently in keeping with the authority and discretion of the commander himself.”

Selective enforcement?

Since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, police have repeatedly been accused of practicing selective enforcement, the result being an unprecedented wave of people refusing to pay fines and increasingly widespread distrust of the police.

Sources at National Police Headquarters vehemently reject the allegations. “No matter who we were up against, we were criticized – the ultra-Orthodox, the Arabs, the protesters on Balfour Street and in Rabin Square. They all have something to say about the enforcement, but we treat everyone the same,” one officer says. But the numbers tell a different story. Figures from the Collection and Enforcement Authority show that, in localities in which morbidity rates were high, such as Bnei Brak, the number of fines handed out wasn’t particularly high in relation, for example, to Tel Aviv, where morbidity rates were relatively low.

Police, for their part, say that the high number of fines handed out in Tel Aviv stemmed from enforcement at demonstrations and wasn’t the result of selective enforcement, but this doesn’t explain why the number of tickets written up in Beit Shemesh, Modi’in Illit and Ashdod was relatively low compared to the numbers in other cities with much lower morbidity rates.

“It’s selective enforcement because the police are well aware of the implications of sending riot squads into the yeshivas. It would be a disaster. That’s exactly why the police decided to appoint a special advisor on ultra-Orthodox affairs,” says a former senior officer.

“It bothers me to see video clips of young girls being handcuffed on the beach for not wearing a mask,” Karadi says. “At the morning briefings [of police commanders], each one presents a report on the number of tickets they’ve written up for failure to wear a mask and wants to show he’s enforcing more and handing out more fines. But this is exactly what causes the rift with the law-abiding population.”

Non-compliance and loss of trust

In terms of public confidence, the Israel Police wasn’t scoring very highly even before the outbreak of the pandemic. Now, internal studies conducted in recent months have shown a further sharp decline in Israelis’ degree of satisfaction with the police, and concern about the situation was voiced by almost all of the dozens of police officers with whom we spoke in recent weeks. “The government doesn’t care about us,” says one relatively junior officer, with a female officer describing the dismal situation thus: “We’re never at home and we’re exposed to the virus all the time, and everyone’s angry with us.”

Cops know how to deal with criminals; they’re less adept at policing law-abiding citizens. “The police don’t have an enemy, they have a public to serve,” Karadi says. “Between the police and the public, there’s an unwritten law that says: The police guard against the ‘bad guys,’ and the public, for its part, obeys the law. Currently, however, more and more law-abiding citizens are violating the regulations, and it undermines the police’s power of deterrence. The police force has no basis for existence without the trust of the public.”

“You can’t do copy-and-paste from one district to the next", says a senior police officer. "A demonstration on Balfour Street isn’t always the same as a demonstration in Bnei Brak, but the general policy that Cohen lays down is clear to everyone; and the fact is, even after the minister said he wouldn’t allow roads to blocked, they were.”

A demonstration in Jerusalem this summer. Photo: Reuters

If it were up to Cohen, his cops wouldn’t be out ticketing civilians for breaching coronavirus regulations. He’s said as much to the cabinet, demanding that local authorities take charge of enforcement in certain areas. The fact that police are handing out fines for not wearing a mask has undermined Israelis’ trust in the force and led to increased friction; almost all the officers we spoke with believe the police erred in this regard.

“It was an oversight and we learned from it. The police also had to familiarize themselves with the regulations and learn how to enforce them on the go,” says a high-ranking police official, adding that the viral video clip in which a policewoman is seen to confront a woman without a mask who’s drinking coffee in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square led to a clarification of procedures, particularly in terms of exercising discretion. “We’re familiarizing ourselves with the regulations and learning in real time how to conduct ourselves with citizens who aren’t criminals,” the officer says.

Friend or foe?

The short-term challenges facing police won’t be easy. Amid the political uncertainty, the foot-dragging on senior appointments, as well as coping with COVID-19 and the economic crisis, the Israel Police will have to conduct itself with caution in its dealings with the public if it wants to maintain order without crossing the fine line that would exacerbate the loss of trust and legitimacy in the eyes of the public.

The police are aware of this, but also reject many of the allegations that have been raised and point a finger at the politicians, accusing them of getting in the way of the work of the police force and undermining its standing. “They’re trying to kill off our legitimacy, and that’s the most worrying thing of all,” says one senior officer. “We operate by virtue of the public’s legitimacy, not by virtue of the law. And the events of recent months have led to a loss of legitimacy. I’m genuinely fearful for the future of the state.”

Interestingly, the same protesters that the police are up against are fearful for the future of the very same state.