A police officer is under investigation after he was filmed assaulting a Palestinian man in East Jerusalem in what the public security minister called a “shameful” incident.
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The officer, whose name has not been released, was detained for questioning before being released to house arrest. According to investigators, the officer saw the truck driver who had run into the officer’s vehicle three days prior. The officer asked the driver for his details before hitting him in different parts of the body and assaulting a second individual at the scene.
In the video, published by Israel Radio, an officer is seen beating Palestinian truck driver Mazen Shwiki, head-butting him and slapping him in Wadi Joz. The officer has since been suspended from duty, pending an investigation.
“The behavior of the police officer filmed violently attacking a resident of East Jerusalem is extremely severe and shameful,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
“Behavior like this damages the whole police force and the officer’s immediate suspension was appropriate. There is no place for this kind of behavior in the police, and I hope that the police internal investigation unit will use the full extent of the law against this misconduct.”
From the exchange heard in the video, it is apparent that the argument began over how the driver had parked his vehicle.
The police have also condemned the incident, saying it views such behavior as severe and as unbefitting a police officer. “After receiving the video, the officer was put on immediate leave and will be called in for a hearing regarding his future in the police.”
They also said the video was sent to the Justice Ministry's police investigation unit.
Shwiki told Haaretz that since the incident he has been unable to work.
“He painfully attacked and humiliated me. It could be that I damaged his vehicle — it happens and I know there are cameras in the area, I didn’t run away, I would have located him, or him me and I would have given him my details. I am a truck driver, not a criminal. There is nothing that justifies his behavior. I was just lucky that someone filmed the incident so that everyone can see what happened. I hope the police and the law enforcement agencies will deal with him.”
Responding to the incident, Joint List Knesset Member Yousef Jabareen called it "another testament to the brutality of the police, and the racist and barbaric manner in which they act toward Arab citizens. Officers in the field have internalized the incitement of the politicians. According to them Arab citizens are second-class citizens, or worse, and are citizens without rights.”