A police officer who told a young woman to kill herself several weeks before she apparently took her own life has said he regretted the “awful” phone call, but said she was being a “nuisance” when he did so, in a leaked recording published Sunday.
The Beersheba woman in her 20s, identified Sunday as Tikva Saban, was told by the officer last month to “go and kill yourself without telling us anything,” after she called to share her mental distress and asked to be hospitalized. She was found dead on Friday morning.
“I’m sorry for the call itself. It was an awful conversation,” he told an associate in a voice recording obtained by the Ynet news site.
“That night we opened three different cases for her. That call was after she called 25-28 times in five minutes,” the officer said.
“I wanted to help other citizens calling, so I told her what I said so she would leave us alone,” he said, explaining that the evening in question was exceptionally busy for the force.
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“They made me out to be such a bad and unhinged person. For 29 years I have been serving this system… I saved a lot of people who tried to kill themselves. Just two days before that I rescued another woman who wanted to kill herself… But this woman was being a nuisance,” he said in the recording.
An illustrative file photo of an ambulance on August 23, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Channel 13 aired a recording of another call in which the police dispatcher could be heard telling Saban that a man she accused of raping her had been cut loose.
After the original call between the cop and the woman was aired by Channel 12 news last month, and before she took her own life, the officer was dismissed from his position.
“They forgot the 29 years I’ve been serving, but okay, this is the system,” he was heard saying in the Ynet recording.
In the original call, the officer told the woman: “God has not taken you yet? God willing, he will take you already. You’re an idiot who wants to kill herself, so kill yourself quietly already. Go and kill yourself without telling us anything. We’re on our way to you, you idiot. Stay there.”
The young woman could be heard crying in the audio recording, while another policewoman laughed in the background.
“I asked for help and she’s laughing? What’s funny about me asking for help, and he tells me ‘go kill myself’?” the young woman told Channel 12 after the phone call.
“I felt alone. I sat with myself and cried,” she added.
The woman was found dead in her Beersheba apartment early Friday morning. She was buried on Saturday night at the city’s new cemetery.
Her brother told Ynet on Sunday that the officer “must pay for what he did.”
“She told me, ‘Maybe he’s right, maybe he knows something because he’s a cop. I call the police and they always help me. Maybe he’s ultimately right.’ She was probably looking for someone like that,” he said.
The police said, “We share in the family’s grief over their loss. When it comes to the conduct of the police officer during the call to the hotline, we take it very seriously. It is conduct that is inconsistent with the values of the police and the norms of behavior expected of every police officer.
“Accordingly, disciplinary proceedings have begun against the officer. He was dismissed from his post following the incident and was removed from work that involved interaction with the public. A probe is currently underway to examine the continuation of his service in the organization more broadly,” police added.