Two people were arrested Tuesday for beating a Bedouin youth as he was held on the ground by security guards at the Beersheba Mall on Sunday.
The suspects, a soldier and a civilian, are seen kicking the detained youth in video footage posted to social media.
The youth, Rahat resident Salman Abu-Medi’a, was detained by mall guards after he refused to identify himself in the shopping center’s parking lot.
According to Haaretz, an initial investigation of the incident determined that the guards did not have the right to demand that Abu-Medi’a identify himself as the latter was not seeking to enter the mall.
The soldier, a Beersheba resident in his 20s, reportedly confessed to his involvement in the incident.
Police initially detained Abu-Medi’a following the incident, but an initial investigation determined that the mall guard acted against security regulations and did not have the right to detain the youth.
“The guard said to me, ‘Hey man, show me your ID,’ in a racist way,” Abu-Medi’a told Channel 2, saying he was heading home from swim practice at the time. “I said to him, ‘No, you don’t have the right to ask me for my ID.’ They starting fighting with me, hitting me. People came from the street and started beating me. People just walked up, looked me in the eye and kicked me like a soccer ball.”
Police said the guard was not trained in the relevant regulations and laws and did not meet the minimum qualifications set by police for civilian guards in public buildings. Officers summoned the mall’s security chief and CEO to reexamine the establishment’s security procedures and standards.
Beersheba Police Chief Amnon Alkalai blasted the behavior of the attackers.
Police “are taking very seriously the fact that there are citizens who feel free to take the law into their own hands and beat someone as he lies helpless and unable to defend himself,” he was quoted as saying by the Haaretz newspaper.
“We all need to be responsible, especially in these tense days,” Alkalai said, urging citizens to call police to report unusual incidents, and not to try to address them by themselves.