Police officers arrested Haaretz reporter Gidi Weitz on Monday as he tried to interview them, falsely claiming that he interfered with a police officer in the performance of his duty.
The officers placed handcuffs and leg cuffs on Weitz and brought him into Lev Tel Aviv Police Station, even after he told them repeatedly that he was a journalist.
The incident began when Weitz saw two officers questioning a worker at a construction site in central Tel Aviv. When he asked what they were doing and identified himself as a journalist, one shouted at him, ordering him to leave and “contact the spokesperson’s office.” When Weitz refused, saying he was doing his job as a journalist, he was forcibly arrested, cuffed and put in a police car after having his phone taken away.
At the police station, he was subjected to a body search, his pockets were emptied and his shoelaces were removed.
Soon after he was put in a cell, the police station commander ordered him released without conditions, without him having been questioned.
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The police released a statement saying they responded to a report about "suspicious individuals." Officers found and then questioned two Palestinians, at which point "the Israeli arrived and started asking the police and the detainees questions."
According to the police, Weitz "failed to respond to the officer's orders to leave and was arrested for preventing the officers from performing their duties."
"After being brought to the station for questioning he was released unconditionally. His claim that he identified himself to the police as a journalist before his arrest will be examined by the relevant authorities."