Police deny officers branded Star of David on Palestinian detainee’s face

Force rejects allegations of brutality and racial animus during arrest of suspect in East Jerusalem, indicate cut marks on suspect’s face were caused by cop’s boot

A photo released by police on August 19, 2023, shows cut marks on a Palestinian detainee's face that the force alleges was caused by an officers boot. A lawyer for the suspect alleges police branded him with a Star of David. (Israel Police)
A photo released by police on August 19, 2023, shows cut marks on a Palestinian detainee's face that the force alleges was caused by an officers boot. A lawyer for the suspect alleges police branded him with a Star of David. (Israel Police)

Police on Saturday further pushed back against allegations of brutality against a Palestinian arrested in East Jerusalem, denying officers branded a Star of David on his face. They indicated the marks were caused by a boot pressed against the suspect’s face.

The suspect, a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp, was arrested Wednesday during a police search of his home. He is suspected of drug possession with intent to distribute.

During a remand hearing the next day, the suspect’s attorney alleged cops blindfolded his client before raining blows across his entire body, leaving him covered with bruises and cut marks on his face that resembled a Star of David.

None of the sixteen officers who took part in the arrest had their body cameras on at the time, according to the Ynet news site.

The judge hearing the case later directed it be brought before the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department (PIID) over allegations of excessive force. He also ordered the suspect remain in custody until Sunday.

In a statement issued Saturday, police called reports on the incident “biased and distorted,” rejecting any racial animus for the officers’ actions and accusing the suspect of violently resisting arrest.

A photo released by police on August 19, 2023, shows the boot of a police officer that allegedly caused cut marks on a Palestinian detainee’s face. A lawyer for the suspect alleges police branded him with a Star of David. (Israel Police)

The force said policemen 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.

Police did not address the defense attorney’s accusations the officers had their cameras off. They also did not specify how many cops took part in the arrest, saying only that “a number of officers” were needed to detain him.

Police also said details about the case would be “immediately” sent to PIID for review. In their initial response, police called for any allegations of misconduct by officers to “be investigated by the relevant authorities.”

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