Police in the central city of Holon used violent force to detain a man for not wearing a face mask, video that was widely shared on social media appears to show.
The video of the incident late Friday night apparently shows two police officers throwing the 24-year-old man to the ground, punching him in the face, tasering him and even beating him with the taser gun.
A Tel Aviv court released the man from custody on Monday, following an appeal against it by the police.
According to the police, the man initially refused to identify himself to the officers, but eventually handed over his ID. The officers then however used what appears to be a disproportionate amount of violence to arrest him.
Following the incident, the man was hospitalized at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, where he was arrested.
At a Tel Aviv Magistrates’ Court hearing for an extension of his remand on Saturday night, police claimed the man wounded an officer and a volunteer policeman and produced photographs to back up their allegations.
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In the video, the two police officers are seen asking the man – who was walking with two friends in the street without a mask – to identify himself.
Despite showing his ID, the man is then seen being dragged aggressively to one side by the officers, while one of his friends asks: “Why are you raising your hands to him?”
At this stage, one of the officers pulls out his taser and uses it on the young man.
The man yells at the cops, asking what is wrong with them, at which point the officer appears to taser him again and even hit him across the head with the taser gun itself.
The other officer is seen punching the suspect in the head, despite him laying on the ground and in visible pain.
The man’s friend also urges the officers to stop, but they ignore him and continued to use the taser.
The video shows the suspect managing to get up off the ground, with his friend telling the officers: “What did you do to him, he’s all bloody!”
Despite this, the video shows the officers continuing to taser the man.
According to the police court testimony, although the young man did not flee the officers, he did not cooperate with them, talking on the phone while he was being questioned and walking off to the side, unlike his two companions.
The police also said that the man maintained his refusal to cooperate even after being handcuffed. The court extended his arrest by one day.
In a second court hearing on the matter held Sunday, the man’s attorney stated that his client had been hospitalized with suspected brain trauma and had been vomiting continuously.
The police said that the officers initially attempted to deal with the matter without using force, but the suspect refused in a highly “active” manner.
“This is a grave incident with as grave behavior on the part of the suspect,” the police said.
During the hearing Sunday, Judge Anat Yahav said that this was unusual and serious incident that started with a simple request from the officers for the detainee and his friends to wear protective face masks.
“I cannot ignore the fact that the suspect has suffered harsh bruising and was in need of medical care afterward, nor can I ignore the fact that this is a young man with no criminal record,” said Yahav, who then ordered the man’s release by bail.
The police then filed an injunction against the ruling, leading to Monday’s hearing.
Israel Police said that the event was unusual in its severity and that the details of the incident would be the subject of an internal probe. Subsequent steps would be determined by the findings of the investigation, it said.