Israeli Cops Caught on Video Beating a Handcuffed Ethiopian Teen

Six officers are suspected of distributing a clip showing them laughing while a colleague hits the teen, who was drunk

A group of six Israeli police officers are being investigated after a video surfaced in which one of them is seen beating a 16-year-old of Ethiopian origin who was handcuffed to a bench.

The officers, from the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, are also suspected of distributing the video clip among their police co-workers.  

The incident occurred in April, when the teen was arrested on suspicion of assault. He was released from prison a few weeks ago after serving a sentence for the offense.

Israeli cop caught on video beating a handcuffed Ethiopian teen

The Justice Ministry’s police conduct investigation unit is looking into the incident. The minor, who was drunk at the time, was handcuffed to a bench at the police station during questioning. The officers are suspected of ridiculing him as he shouted at them. At one point, one of the policemen can be seen slapping the suspect while the other officers can be seen laughing in the clip, which was filmed by one of the police officers.

The teen later acknowledged that he was so drunk at the time that he did not remember what happened, and lost consciousness that evening. The next day, while waiting to be questioned again, he heard his voice coming from the phone of one of the officers at the station – and he was shown the video.

He complained about the incident during his interrogation. Six officers were questioned after further information, including an official complaint with the identity of one of the officers, was provided to the Justice Ministry unit within the past two weeks.

The Israel Police said they view any incident in which a suspect’s rights are violated as serious. “Immediately after the incident occurred, the film was given to the regional headquarters, which of its own initiative gave it to the Justice Ministry investigative unit.

"The investigation is being conducted with the full cooperation [of the police], and the police officer who is suspected of the act was immediately removed from service and no longer serves in the Israel Police,” a police statement said.

This is a very serious incident, the teen's lawyer said, claiming that the police had acted in complete violation of their duty to see to the suspect's safety and well-being. 

The clip has been circulating for months among members of the Israel Police force around the country on WhatsApp social media groups, beginning almost immediately after the incident occurred. Not all of the police officers who saw the clip thought it was funny. On one group, a policeman wrote: “An embarrassment to the police.” Another wrote: “Throw them out yesterday.”