Ethiopian soldier beaten by cop is now a decorated IDF cyber officer

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Damas Pakada, an Ethiopia-born IDF soldier who sparked protests by Ethiopian Jews after video emerged of him being beaten by a police officer, is now a decorated officer in the cyber unit of the army’s technology branch.

Padaka, 24, a first lieutenant in the Topaz unit of the Technological and Logistics Directorate, came to Israel with seven siblings after losing his father at age 9. In Israel, at age 13, he lost his mother, too, after she succumbed to illness. He and his siblings grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods of Holon, a southern suburb of Tel Aviv.

In April 2015, on his birthday, Pakada was released from the army for the day and was on his way home to celebrate with his brother.

A police officer stopped him on the sidewalk as he was cordoning off the area because a suspicious object had been spotted. The officer then pushed Pakada, tossed his bicycle aside and proceeded to push and kick the soldier, including stepping on him while he lay prostrate on the ground attempting to deflect the blows.

A video camera caught the officer beating Pakada, then 21.

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