A police officer has been removed from his post after video showed him on Friday forcibly pulling on the sidelocks of an ultra-Orthodox protester in Beit Shemesh.
The police said the officer was immediately removed from his position, while investigators looked into the incident.
Video shows the officer yanking on a protester’s hair and dragging him by his sidelocks, on his feet, toward police vehicles. The protester, identified by the ultra-Orthodox news outlet Kikar Shabbat as Beit Shemesh resident Mordechai Kreuzer, does not appear to resist.
The incident occurred while police were accompanying municipal workers who had been carrying out a demolition order in a largely ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of the city.
Clashes broke out between the police and protesters who opposed the demolition.
תיעוד מחריד: בלש המשטרה כמעט תולש את פאות העצור >>>הוא לא מתנגד למעצר, וכלל לא השתתף בהפגנה – מה שכמובן לא מנע מהשוטר למשוך לו באכזריות בפאות #משטרת_ישראל_2019 • שתפו – ונשים סוף לאלימות המשטרתית!
פורסם על ידי חדשות כיכר השבת ב- יום שני, 8 ביולי 2019
The officers who arrested Kreuzer said that he resisted arrest and attacked them.
“During the arrest an officer was injured in the leg, causing a fracture,” police said.
Kreuzer said he was standing by the side of the protest outside his home with his wife and children when a police officer collided with him and began to beat him.
“He told me ‘you’re going to die today,'” Kreuzer told Kikar Shabbat.
Video from the scene appears to show a police officer approach Kreuzer, shove him into a minivan, and strike him in the face. The video was filmed from a distance and does not show what preceded the altercation.
זה לא אוטיסט או זקן עם רגל תותבת; 'כולה' אזרח מן השורה, חרדי, שספג מכות סתם כך ולאחר מכן נעצר בגין "תקיפת שוטר".
לכן בער בי לפרסם את זה. כל אזרח בישראל עלול ליפול קורבן לאלימות ולהתנכלות המשטרתית.
כמובן שבעקבות הפרסום ב'כיכר', המשטרה לא העזה לבקש את הארכת מעצרו. והיה זה שכרי pic.twitter.com/iLzFrhnC40
— חיים גולדברג (@haim_goldberg) July 7, 2019
“He pulled my sidelocks — it was humiliating and painful. If he had pulled a little harder, they would have been torn. I couldn’t do anything, not even resist, and they say that I attacked police,” Kreuzer said.
Evidence from the incident had been transferred to the Police Internal Investigations Department. Kreuzer has since been released.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who has come under fire as police have been accused of brutality against Ethiopian-Israelis, called the incident appalling and said he approved of suspending the officer.
He wrote on Twitter: “I condemn all violence by police and the use of unnecessary force. We must finish the investigation immediately and publish its findings and the punishment…as a message against violence by police.”