A Tel Aviv judge has instructed the police to identify and arrest an unknown man who was captured on video kicking an Arab woman on a Tel Aviv street. The woman, who had allegedly assaulted another person, was restrained and lying on the ground at the time of the alleged attack against her.
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The incident occurred on October 12 in south Tel Aviv. The woman allegedly punched a man and was restrained by passersby who feared she was a terrorist. A video of the incident taken by a witness shows one man kicking her in the head as she lay on the ground, her hands held behind her back.
The woman, who was found not to be carrying a weapon, was arrested on suspicion of assault. A preliminary psychiatric evaluation determined that at the time of the incident she was experiencing a psychotic break.
At a detention hearing a week ago, Judge Shamai Becker of the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court instructed the police to identify and apprehend the man who is seen kicking her on the video.
“Even if the accused were a terrorist, it is unacceptable for Israeli citizens to kick in the head persons who pose no threat,” Becker said.
He asked police detectives to report back to him within four days on their search, adding that the quality of the video suggested that the police should be able to identify and question the unknown suspect. “Otherwise we’re on a slippery slope and what will we come to? Are we like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah?” Becker said.
The suspect has not been located; the police are searching in several neighborhoods.
Referring to her client, the woman’s public defender attorney, Tamar Nevo, said “this is a woman with mental problems. Passersby brutally assaulted her as she lay helpless. We therefore requested the court to dismiss her case.”
The woman was admitted to Abarbanel Mental Health Center in Bat Yam under custody, for psychiatric observation. A further court hearing in her case was scheduled for Wednesday.
“When suspicion of an assault against this woman came to our attention, neighborhood police stations started investigating, with the purpose of locating the suspect. Efforts to find him are continuing through our intelligence sources. We wish to emphasize to the public, required to be more vigilant these days, that when a danger is over and the suspect is disarmed or incapacitated, there is a strict prohibition on using violence — citizens are expected to refrain from taking the law into their hands,” the police said in a statement.