Police Investigations to check whether officer brutalized minor

Police Investigations Division investigating police behavior toward minor Yedidya Epstein who was arrested in Old City Jerusalem.

Hezki Baruch ,

Police
Police
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The Police Investigation Department has launched an investigation into the police's conduct towards 14-year-old Yedidia Epstein. Investigators will collect evidence of police conduct, including a video leaked from his investigation.

Arutz Sheva revealed that on Thursday, police arrested three Jewish boys on suspicion of disturbing order in the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem after dozens of Arabs began to gather around them.

Testimony from one of the boys shows that the police used severe violence against Epstein and that he was deprived of basic rights such as providing food and water and giving notice of his arrest to his parents.

On Monday night, a video of the boy's interrogation was also leaked by police and Ben Gvir addressed it. "We understand that the police are under pressure, but it's a video that was edited by the police from the interrogation room in violation of the law, and questioning a minor against the youth law.

"No one can explain why the minor wasn't imprisoned in a juvenile detention center, why he was forced to sleep on a bench, why he was cuffed - even if the police claim it was 'only' five hours "- is time for the Jerusalem Police to take responsibility for mistakes instead of using the best known defense which is an attack, certainly not against a minor," Ben Gvir added.

Epstein, a 14-year-old minor, was arrested while walking with his friends around the gates of the Temple Mount as he does every Thursday. "We were in the Muslim Quarter about twenty guys," he said. "About fifty Arabs arrived and started making trouble.

"The Arabs came in numbers and started beating us," he added. At that time, about five Border Police officers who were at the scene approached the boys and demanded they go away. "We told them, why are you kicking us out and not them? We didn't agree to move and we laid on the ground, so they told us it was an illegal gathering. We got up and they asked us to start walking, we walked slowly and they started to push us. They pushed hard."

He said, "Towards the Shechem Gate, there was trouble again. They started to kick us, they lifted me by my hands and legs. I told them that I live here and you can't take me from where I live. I told them I wanted to go in, we were already at Shechem Gate and then they caught me, a Border Policemand and Border Policewoman, and took me."

The two Border Police officers asked him to give them his personal phone. When he did not comply, they began pushing their hands into his pockets. "The Border Policewoman put her hand in my pocket to take the phone, and I told her she was harassing me.

"I explained to them that I'm shomer negiah, and I suggested that I won't resist but I'll go with the Border Policeman at his own pace, with only him holding me. At one point, the Border Policeman started running with me and I fell. He dragged me," he said.

The boy and the police officers who caught him arrived at the Jerusalem Border Police building. "I came to Beit Eliyahu, where they made sure no one was filming and slammed the door shut. Another Border Policeman came and choked me, he grabbed me by the throat and a third Border Policeman threw his hand away from me. I told him I couldn't breathe and then he pulled me. They kicked me, started beating me."

Epstein further described the harsh violence directed against him. "He put me in the toilet, came in himself and locked the door. He put me against the wall and kicked me in the legs. I thought he was going to murder me, I'm not kidding," he said. "He kept beating me and at one point he pulled me out and flung me on the chair."

When Epstein asked for water, they replied that they had run out of water bottles. Around 22:00 he was transferred to the Jerusalem District headquarters building, the "Kishla" building.

Even there, 14-year-old Epstein testified, he received disgraceful treatment as he was forced to stay in the waiting room handcuffed all night, without food and water and without his parents being notified of his arrest. "A detention cell was occupied so they left me in the waiting room all night and didn't let me talk to my parents," he said. "They handcuffed me and my feet, until I arrived in court at 11:30 on Friday."

He says "the other detainee who was with me asked to go to the bathroom and the Border Police came in with him and watched him urinate."

"At night, they didn't bring me any food, and in the morning I couldn't eat what they brought me because I didn't eat that kashrut. They told me it was kosher and I had to eat it," Epstein said.

Epstein finally signed a release under restrictive conditions, distanced from the place for 60 days. He intends to appeal the restraining order and even to file a complaint with the Police Investigations Division against the police.

The Israel Police said: "The Israeli police strictly observe the rights and dignity of interrogees and detainees alongside the need to investigate the truth and to comply with the law, and was the case here.

"The suspect arrived in the Old City area with others who began to violate the order in the place, fighting with local residents and police officers and subsequently the suspect was arrested for questioning for disorderly conduct in a public place, interfering with a policeman, and behavior that could violate public peace, and in the morning he was brought to court and released on conditions," police said.

It was also reported, "The Israeli police will act resolutely against anyone who interferes with police officers in their work and violates public order while harming others."



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