A video clip which surfaced over the weekend appears to show Israeli police officers beating a handcuffed Palestinian-American teenager, the cousin of the teen murdered earlier this week.
Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, a resident of Miami, was visiting Jerusalem along with his family for his cousin’s funeral earlier this week. The video, which was filmed Thursday, appears to show two Border Police officers punching and kicking a masked teenager who lays bound on the ground. Palestinians claim the teen in the video is Abu Khdeir.
On Saturday police launched an official investigation into the incident.
In an initial response Border Police officials had claimed the video was “edited and tendentious” and did not reflect the true nature of the incident. They said the teen had been detained during the arrest of six masked persons, and body searches of three of them yielded knives. “During their arrest they resisted and even attacked the [officers],” Border Police said.
Abu Khdeir’s family denies the charges, Reuters reported.
The United States said Saturday it was “profoundly concerned” over the report.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States “strongly condemn(s) any excessive use of force,” in the wake of Tariq Abu Khdeir’s case.
“We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force,” she added in a statement.
Earlier in the week, Tariq’s cousin, Muhammed Abu Khdeir, was found dead in the woods, apparently after being burned alive. Israeli officials suspect he was murdered by Jews in a reprisal for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank on June 12. Muhammed Abu Khdeir’s death sparked riots in Jerusalem that have spread across the country.
According to Addameer, a Palestinian human rights group, Tariq Abu Khdeir was arrested without charges and will stand trial Sunday morning at the Court of First Instances in Jerusalem. Despite serious injuries to his head and face, the boy was not given medical treatment for at least five hours, the group said.
AFP contributed to this report.