A soldier and a civilian were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of beating up a young Bedouin man from Rahat, who was detained by security guards at a mall in Be’er Sheva after refusing to identify himself. A video posted on social media shows Salman Abu Madia lying on the ground with two people kicking him. The soldier is a Be’er Sheva resident in his 20s.
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An investigation into the incident showed that the guard who had asked Abu Madia to show his ID papers, even though he wasn’t trying to enter the mall, had undergone little training and was acting in contravention of regulations.
The police say they received a report of a man refusing to identify himself to a security guard. They arrived on the scene and detained Abu Madia for questioning. He told the police that he hadn’t tried to enter the mall at all but was walking through the parking lot. A suspicious guard asked him for his ID, and when he refused an argument broke out.
Police say that the guard acted contrary to procedures, had received no training and did not meet minimum standards for the job. A hearing was held for the mall’s security chief and manager. A further investigation of mall security will take place to ensure that faulty procedures have been corrected.
Abu Madia told TV Channel 2 news that he was on his way back from a swimming training session when he was suddenly asked to identify himself.
“The guard accosted me in a racist manner, asking for my papers. I refused, telling him he had no right to do so,” he said.
He added that the guard called out to other people who then commenced to beat him.
“They started quarreling with me and hitting me, with other people arriving and joining in. They all arrived, looked at me and started kicking, like in soccer.”
“The police view with gravity the fact that citizens feel they have the right to take the law into their hands, beating a helpless person who cannot defend himself,” said Negev District police chief Brig. Gen. Amnon Alkalay, adding that “we all need to take responsibility, especially during these tense days, and not deal with incidents on our own instead of calling the police.”