Town Demands Investigation of Police Brutality

A guard in the town of Michmash says he was attacked by police - just because he was doing his job.

Moshe Cohen ,

Security gate
Security gate
Hillel Meir

Police officials have appointed a committee to investigate an incident in which a security guard was attacked at the gate to the town of Michmash, north of Jerusalem, over Shabbat. The guard claims that police brutally attacked him, injuring him and causing him psychological damage.

To add insult to injury, said a spokesperson for Michmash, police had not come to arrest anyone or conduct a search – but simply to pick up another officer who lived in the town.

The incident occurred at about 6 a.m. Saturday, with police arriving at the gate and demanding to be let into the town. The guard, a father of five who is the resident of the town, asked the officers what they wanted in the town – considering that it was a religious community, and the vast majority of people were likely to be sleeping. The officers said that they were there on “police business,” and words were exchanged with the officers, according to footage taken by another resident on his cellphone.

Boaz Arazi, a spokesperson for Michmash, said that police refused to answer the guard's questions, despite his telling the officers that he was not allowed to open the gate without knowing what their business in the town was. Eventually, the guard opened the gate – and was immediately arrested by the officers, who claimed that he had “interfered” with their work.

The guard was taken several kilometers up the road to the Binyamin police station and booked. He was released a few hours later – and began walking home from the station, towards Michmash.

Arazi stated that Michmash residents supported the police, and had a overarching interest in ensuring that they did their job, as it protected them. Residents understand the importance of police operations, but they are extremely upset at the way this incident was handled. “We demand a thorough investigation, and a full report which we will be allowed to peruse,” he said.

Arazi said that the guard had suffered physical and mental injuries as a result of the incident, and that his children, whom the guard had raised to respect police, had become very cynical as a result of the incident.

And all that, said Arazi, was unnecessary – considering that the officers' “mission” was to pick up a colleague who lived in Michmash and was scheduled to work the Shabbat shift.

Commenting on the incident, MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home) said that “the video speaks for itself. Police are seen using violence for no reason. Police must treat this incident as they would any other one in which officers attacked - for example, an Arab, in which they would certainly be forced to justify themselves.”



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