A mobile-phone video posted online on Wednesday shows police brutally beating two Palestinian men in the Shoafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
The beating continued after the men were taken to a police station, one of the men, Ali Talhami, told Israel Radio on Wednesday. Talhami, 27, told the station that a municipal inspector accompanied by a police officer came to his store and said he was fining him 500 shekels for taking a refrigerator into the street.
“I explained the refrigerator was outside because we were returning it to the company, but the inspector started swearing at me,” Talhami said. Then the police officer attacked him, he said. Other police officers quickly arrived on the scene and joined in on the beating, Talhami said.
The footage, published by Israel Radio, shows police officers brutally beating Talhami and slamming a police van’s door on him several times. One officer hits him with the butt of his rifle and hurls the other man at the vehicle, Israel Radio reported.
“After we reached the police station, they continued beating me,” said Talhami, who said he suffered a broken arm and ribs.
In the video, the police officer forces Talhami into the police van with blows and then walks over to Majdi Dabah, who was standing nearby, and hurls him at the van.
“The policeman started beating Ali, and I told him not to,” Dabah said. “So he pushed me with my head into the window and then knocked me to the ground and beat me.”
Dabah, who is still hospitalized, said two police officers started the incident before being joined by seven others who arrived in a police car and then by 20 officers. “My shoulder was dislocated and my head hurts,” he said.
Talhami was released from custody Wednesday morning. A police source said he had recently been arrested for domestic violence. Talhami said he had been arrested after neighbors, who had heard shouts, complained. However, he was released when the complaints were found to be groundless, he said.
The Jerusalem police said in a statement that the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department will investigate the incident.
The municipality said, “The municipal inspector was not involved in a physical or verbal confrontation with Talhami. The inspector, who noticed a large amount of merchandise on the sidewalk (not only a refrigerator) asked Talhami to identify himself. People crowded round and arguments ensued, forcing the police officer who was present to call for backup.”