A Tel Aviv woman was arrested, handcuffed and detained for hours earlier this month after reporting to the police that an acquaintance had assaulted her. She later claimed that officers mocked and threatened her while she was in their custody.
The man had beaten her up in her own home and threatened her by holding a pair of scissors to her neck, the woman, who has a disability, said.
The woman, who exhibited signs of post-traumatic stress and had significant bruising, was detained because her alleged assailant filed a counter-complaint against her. Both complainants spent part of the night in jail and were released on bail early the next morning.
The two met at work and had started a relationship – but the woman said the relationship quickly deteriorated into threats and abuse.
On the night in question, she said, the man manipulated her into letting him in. They began arguing, after which he grabbed her and she threw her cellphone at him to make him let go. “If I hadn’t shoved him, I would have died,” she insisted. “I defended myself reflexively.”
When she told him she was calling the police, he replied that he would, too. The police arrived at about 2 A.M. and detained them both.
“I didn’t understand why I was being detained; a moment earlier, he almost murdered me,” the woman said. When she asked, police told her it was because she hit him with her cellphone. “But he has no marks,” she continued. “My entire body is covered with bruises.”
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Neighbors said they had called the police after hearing screaming from her apartment. “When he blows a fuse, he becomes aggressive and possessive,” one of the woman’s friends said. “Once, he dragged her down the street by her shirt collar.”
Police had advised the woman to file a complaint against the man a few months earlier, but she refused, asking them to just “find a way to get him out of my life.”
After her arrest, the woman accused all the officers at the police station of treating her dismissively, aside from one policewoman. She said they mocked her fear and chatted with the man who allegedly assaulted her. One even threatened to cuff her “hands and feet” and put a bag over her head if she didn’t keep quiet, while another jokingly suggested to a colleague that they take her to a psychiatric hospital.
“What the police did to me was beyond sadism,” she complained, adding that she felt humiliated by being fingerprinted and photographed – which is standard practice for detainees released on bail.
The woman was held in a cell until 5 A.M. While in jail, she hurt herself on the cell bars and was treated by a paramedic, but refused to go to the hospital. Police said that after discovering she was disabled, they removed her handcuffs and took her out of the cell.
The day after her release, her injuries started to bother her and she did go to the hospital. The medical report said she had significant bruising on both arms, while her wrists were swollen and still bore the marks of the handcuffs.
The Tel Aviv police denied all her accusations about the officers’ behavior. They are still investigating the mutual complaints of assault.