Two policemen have been suspended after video footage emerged on Monday showing them pummeling an Ethiopian-born IDF soldier, Damas Pakada, who alleged he was the target of a racist attack.
The incident took place in Holon, south of Tel Aviv, on Sunday evening, where police were cordoning off a street due to a suspicious object.
“I feel terrible, and humiliated. This is a disgrace to the State of Israel,” Pakada told Channel 2 Monday. “It’s because of [my] skin color,” he said.
After the footage was obtained by Pakada’s family, he was released from custody, with police promising to investigate the matter.
Pakada told Channel 10 that he was riding his bicycle when he noticed the two officers.
He said that he asked them what they were up to and one of them confronted him and pushed him off his bike, saying, “I can do whatever I want.”
He said that the officer threatened to shoot him in the head, and that they only let up only after he backed away and lifted a rock.
“The cop told me, ‘I’m doing my job and if I need to put a bullet in your head, I would do it. I am proud of my job,'” he told Ynet.
Several police then detained the soldier for alleged assault, although the footage showed that Pakada did not attack them with the rock in his hand.
Pakada is a 21-year-old orphan who emigrated from Ethiopia with his four siblings seven years ago.
He said he couldn’t remove the blood stains from his army uniform.
“It doesn’t matter if this is a soldier in uniform or a normal citizen, this is not how an officer is expected to behave,” a police source told Channel 2.
“Policemen work hard to serve the public and a rare event like this will not pass in silence,” the source said.
Another officer termed the incident “shameful.”
“When I saw the clip, I couldn’t believe I was in Israel,” Pakada’s brother told Channel 2. “I was sure it was a prank, that this is a clip from the US of white cops beating black citizens for no reason. Only by the army uniform, could I see that it was my brother.”