A police officer who was caught on film last week beating a US-Palestinian teenager during a riot in East Jerusalem will face disciplinary measures as well as criminal charges, police said on Wednesday.
Fifteen-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir, who is a US citizen, was arrested last week in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat during clashes between stone-throwers and Israeli riot police that erupted over the brutal killing of his cousin Muhammed Abu Khdeir in an apparent revenge attack.
Two police officers were filmed beating and kicking Khdeir as he lay on the ground.
As a result of the police investigation one of the police officers was banned from duties for 15 days, it was announced Wednesday. The suspect is to face a hearing at the Israel Police Investigations Department, the police’s internal affairs unit, which is also considering bringing criminal charges against him. The case has been forwarded to “the relevant authority at the Israeli Police, in order to consider taking administrative measures against him,” the PID said in a statement.
The statement said that in the video of the arrest, “one of [the officers] uses excessive force, seemingly without any justification” and noted that it launched an investigation into the incident even before a complaint was filed.
According to the PID, the arrest was made during “a severe riot” in Shuafat that saw masked rioters pelt police with Molotov cocktails and rocks. Undercover officers who were operating during the riot carried out several arrests, and Khdeir, who can be seen in the video with a scarf wrapped around his head, was apprehended after participating in the protests. Khdeir has denied that he was an active participant in the rioting, insisting that he was merely watching.
“The teen shown in the video was a minor, arrested after allegedly being identified by the police as taking an active part in the riots, while masked and carrying a slingshot,” the PID said. “Alleged evidence was found supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes, committed after the arrest of the minor, and while the minor was handcuffed.
During the investigation, Khdeir was released to house arrest, ordered to pay a NIS 3,000 ($877) bond and banned from visiting the Shuafat neighborhood.
At the time, the US State Department said it was “profoundly troubled” by Khdeir’s beating and demanded an investigation.
Muhammed Abu Khdeir, Tariq Abu Khdeir’s cousin, was found dead in the woods last week, apparently after he was burned alive. Six Jewish extremists were arrested for the crime, and three confessed to police. The other three were released from custody on Wednesday.
The killing was allegedly a revenge attack for the slaying of three Israeli teenagers in June. Israel has blamed two Palestinian members of Hamas for the killings of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel, who were abducted and murdered on June 12 and whose bodies were found on June 30.