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Border cops questioned on suspicion of assaulting man during Mea Shearim clashes

An investigation was opened Thursday against two Border Police officers suspected of assaulting an innocent man in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim.

The Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department questioned the two officers.

They were given conditional release after being questioned, with the PIID saying the investigation would continue over the next few days.

The April 4 incident occurred during widespread clashes in the hardline neighborhood over the enforcement of social distancing rules and other restrictions imposed to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

“The suspicion is that during riots in the neighborhood, the officers pushed a man without justification while he was walking in the street,” the PIID said in a statement. “The plaintiff subsequently fell and was bruised.”

CCTV footage of the incident shows an officer shoving a man to the ground, apparently unprovoked, and then continuing past him along with other troops.

The video had elicited angry reaction and calls for an investigation.

The PIID earlier this week opened an internal probe into another incident in which a 9-year-old girl was injured by a stun grenade thrown by police officers during clashes in Mea Shearim.

The April 16 incident occurred during riots in which protesters hurled objects at police forces, after the government extended the closure rules in several mostly Haredi neighborhoods in the capital. The protest was not coordinated with authorities and did not adhere to Health Ministry guidelines on social distancing.

CCTV footage showed cops throwing a stun grenade, which hit the girl who hadn’t been involved in the riot, and exploded next to a stroller with a baby in it.

Zissel Margaliot, who was injured by a police stun grenade during a riot in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim, April 17, 2020 (Screen grab/Ynet)

The girl, Zissel Margaliot, told the Ynet news site that she was injured near her eye and had felt that her head was “on fire.” She said she ran, panicking, looking for people who would help her.

The police commander for northern Jerusalem, Brig. Gen. Ofer Shomer, told the Kan public broadcaster that officers had used “reasonable” force.

Header: Police officers during a raid in the ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim on April 22, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Source: TOI