Three police officers were questioned under caution on Sunday on suspicion of assaulting an ultra-Orthodox man last week in Jerusalem.
Security footage caused public outrage last Wednesday when Haim Mizrachi was seen trying to get the attention of police detectives in a civilian vehicle in the capital’s Geula neighborhood.
The detectives were driving against traffic and had bumped into another car. Mizrachi apparently did not realize the men were police officers.
Video of the lead-up to the incident shows him calmly speaking to other people on the street, then approaching and speaking to the officers in the car before walking away.
An officer then chases him, hauls him against a car and begins beating him.
Other officers join in. At no point does Mizrachi appear to act violently or act out in protest.
The three cops were interrogated by the Police Internal Investigations Department — a Justice Ministry body that probes allegations of police misdeeds — and were ordered to stay away from their police station for four days and not to contact those involved in the investigation.
The officers are also suspected of disrupting court proceedings, Hebrew media reported.
Mizrachi has given many interviews about the incident and about his subsequent arrest, during which he was allegedly abused by the officers, told he had made the “mistake of your life,” was denied the use of a bathroom, and forced to stay in custody until the next day, when a judge ordered him released.
“I said I’ll go tell him that he scratched a car. He told me, ‘Okay, okay,’ like, ‘I’m coming over.’ Suddenly they jumped on me, choked me, started punching me,” he told Channel 12 on Thursday.
“They put me in a police car, stepped on me, and punched me in the face. I told them I couldn’t breathe. He told me, ‘You’re getting enough breath,’ and hit me,” an emotional Mizrachi said.
הבחור חיים מזרחי בראיון עם מנחם טוקר. תראו איך הוא שבור ורצוץ. משטרה פח, פיצצתם בן אדם סתם תבואו לעזור לו מה אתם זורקים אותו ???? ???? pic.twitter.com/SzUS9TljKg
— דניאל פרידמן ???????? (@x053653787x) January 9, 2022
The officers took him to a police station in Jerusalem’s Russian Compound. Police had held him in detention until Thursday afternoon and appealed against his release, a request that was rejected and criticized by a judge.
Police claimed Mizrachi had assaulted an officer. They said protesters at the scene had blocked traffic and disturbed public order, and at least six had been arrested.
In response to the incident, police said that “during police activities, and after giving an order to disperse, measures were used to disperse people who were disturbing public order. We are seeing partial documentation that does not reflect the ongoing and violent public disorder that was happening in the area. If there are claims against police officers, they will be investigated by authorized officials.”