Israel Police officers are alleged to have brutally beaten a Palestinian and branded a Star of David on his cheek after arresting him in East Jerusalem on Wednesday.
The resident of the Shuafat refugee camp is suspected of having committed drug trafficking offenses.
Update: On Saturday, Israel police said the officers used “reasonable force” to subdue the suspect and that the “bruise that is similar to a triangle” on his face was likely caused by “an article of clothing of one of the officers.” The statement was accompanied by a photo of an officer’s boot, implying the marks were the result of the footwear being pressed against the suspect’s face.
The suspect was brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court for a remand hearing on Thursday during which his attorney presented the allegations of police brutality.
Sixteen officers took part in the arrest, but none of them had their body cameras on in an apparent effort to avoid showing what transpired afterward, according to the Ynet news site.
The officers blindfolded the suspect and allegedly proceeded to rain blows across his entire body, which was covered in bruises. The Star of David branding was still visible on his face at the remand hearing, Ynet said. It did not say what the police used to allegedly brand him.
Judge Amir Shaked reportedly expressed his horror over the police’s conduct and directed the case to be brought before the Police Internal Investigations Department over allegations of excessive force.
He ordered that the suspect’s remand be extended until Sunday.
The suspect’s attorney, Wadim Shub, from the Public Defender’s office, said in a statement that the incident was “a grave case of intentional violence and humiliation of a detainee by police.”
He demanded an immediate police investigation, saying, “As a law-abiding country, we must not put up with the phenomenon of police brutality. In this case, the nature of the injuries raises a strong suspicion that they were racially motivated.”
Israel Police issued a statement, claiming the suspect resisted arrest, violently attacking and kicking police who responded with “reasonable force” to subdue him.
“If allegations regarding this or that conduct arise, they should be investigated by the relevant authorities,” the statement added.