Friday, May 27, 2016

Tel Aviv 'police brutality' claim exposed as false

Analysis of footage shows Bedouin employee attacked cops first, prompts journalist to apologize for condemning police.

Israeli media raised an uproar after security cameras apparently showed an Arab Israeli supermarket worker in Tel Aviv being hit by eight police officers- but a closer investigation of the footage has debunked the claims of unprovoked police brutality, and even caused some in the media to apologize.

Maysam Abu Alqian, 19, a Bedouin Arab from the Negev town of Hura, was asked by plainclothes Border Police officers on Sunday to see his teudat zehut (ID card) as he stood outside the Super Yuda store in central Tel Aviv where he worked.

According to Alqian, he refused to show his ID until an officer in uniform showed up, and he claims that the plainclothes officers began hitting him for no apparent reason.

But during an internal police investigation of the incident, a close examination of the security camera footage revealed by Walla shows the officers were actually attacked first and responded according to protocol. [...]

An analysis of the footage led at least one leading figure in the media to retract his initial accusations against the police.

Ben-Dror Yemini, a Yedioth Aharonoth columnist, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday: "I was wrong. I'm sorry."

"Immediately after the incident between the Bedouin youth and the officers in central Tel Aviv I published a short post condemning the police. But a check of the video footage frame by frame, which was done by Avi Ashkenazi on the Walla site, reveals that the officers apparently did indeed present documentation, and they were not the ones who started the pushing that led to violence."

"I demand that others respond to the facts. The facts prove that I was wrong," he concluded.

But despite the revelations, the backlash fueled by the initial reports of the incident have led to an outpouring of contributions for the Bedouin teen who refused to show his ID to the officers and proceeded to hit them.

According to reports on Thursday around 1,000 Israelis have raised over 100,000 shekels (over $26,000) for Alqian to pay for his university tuition fees.

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