The Justice Ministry’s department for investigating police officers has questioned an officer who was filmed slapping a detained man while other policemen were restraining him.
The policeman, who was questioned on Sunday, is suspected of illegal use of force in the altercation in the largely Bedouin town of Rahat on Friday. He was released but may not approach his police station or make contact with other suspects until this coming Friday.
The incident occurred when police were trying to give the man a ticket for driving with an expired license, the police said, adding that the man tried to flee and later attacked them and other people with sticks and stones.
Two policemen were lightly hurt and two residents of Rahat, which is in the south near Be’er Sheva, were arrested. According to the police, the man who was slapped resisted arrest. The police also said that one of the policemen had been hit in the back during the altercation.
The video, which was apparently taken after the clashes, shows police leading away a detainee, when a policeman dressed in civilian clothes and a police cap slaps him hard. In a longer video, the officer is seen falling to the ground before he recovers and slaps the detainee.
Over the weekend Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan responded to the video by saying, in response to a tweet by a Haaretz reporter, “The video raises serious questions about the conduct of the policeman. His conduct must also be examined from a disciplinary point of view.”
Erdan added that “a violent policeman should not remain in the force.”
In another video made by one of the policemen, one of the men in the car is seen cursing the policemen and saying, “The Alobra family says to you, screw you.” The Alobra family is a large clan in Rahat.
Attorney Natalie Utan, who represents the driver, told Haaretz that when she came to advise her client before his interrogation, she asked to be allowed to photograph his injuries from the confrontation with the police, but she was forbidden. According to Utan, he was bleeding from the head.
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