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WATCH: Police brutality in East Jerusalem mini-market

All the Salman family wanted to do was sit in their grocery store and have a nice lunch. That all changed when police stormed the place, tasered one and arrested three.

By Michael Salisbury-Coresh

On Tuesday May 26, Israeli Police arrested a group of Palestinians without entry permits in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa. Two brothers from the Salman family, who own a mini-market in the middle of the neighborhood, saw the arrests on the other side of the road and continued arranging the store unimpeded.

When the Salman family sat down to have lunch in their store at around 11:00 a.m., a man dressed in civilian clothing and armed with a taser ran inside.

“It looked like he was about to use the taser and I asked him if something happened,” said Talal Salman, who works in the store with his brother. “He told me that he is from the police and that he is conducting a search. So I told him to show me his police ID as well as a search warrant. If he didn’t have those I would ask him to leave. He refused to identify himself and demanded my ID. I told him that I have no problem giving him my identification card, and then he was joined by another police officer, this time in uniform, who asked what happened. The first officer said that I had attacked him and was refusing to identify.”

When Talal called his wife to ask that she bring his identification card, the officer in civilian clothing demanded he be arrested for assaulting an officer.”I have a disability, and I was very afraid of being arrested. I also didn’t understand how it turned from a situation in which a person enters my store with a taser in his hand to one in which I am arrested for assaulting a police officer. I refused to be arrested, and told the officers that they have no reason to do so.”

But the detectives and the officer involved were not willing to listen and, according to Talal, began violently attacking him and his brother Bilal. “They punched and kicked us, and then tasered me several times.” Other family members ran to the store and joined the chaos, including Bilal and Talal’s brother, Abed.

According to the brothers, the violence didn’t end even after reaching the Moriah Police Station. “The detectives in the station continued to curse at me. They told me ‘God will take you, we won’t leave you, will will continue to chase you.'” Bilal said that a number of detectives demanded he get down on his knees as punishment for attacking soldiers. When he refused they began beating him once again. “They told me that if I don’t kneel down they will add another charge that I pulled a gun on them. This was a form of punishment. They also made the handcuffs extremely tight on my hands and legs. I was in great pain after sitting on my knees like that for an hour.”

Read: The real roots of violence in Jerusalem

Both brothers were interrogated for suspicion of attacking a police officer and obstructing a police officer in the line of duty. They were left in the Russian Compound prison overnight and were released the following morning on conditions.

That same day the two brothers went to submit a complaint with the Israeli Police internal affairs division, despite being skeptical about how much good it would do. Bilal claims that he doubts that the police will stand trial for violence. “The internal affairs division simply helps frame suspects. They back each other up.” Talal, on the other hand, believes that the complaint will have an effect: “I think the state understands that if the situation in which the police attack civilians persists, what happened in Egypt will also happen here. Why did the revolution in Egypt start? Because of police brutality. The fact that I’m Arab makes no difference — the police attack everybody. Only a few months ago I saw a video of police attacking a Jewish man in Beit Shemesh and putting his face under the engine of a car. He was also charged with attacking a police officer.”

Jerusalem Police responded to the allegations:

Our investigation revealed that the suspects fled to the store, where they resisted arrest and those present attempted to prevent the police officers from conducting the arrests. The officers were resigned to use proportional force and arrested three suspects. Jerusalem Police will continue to act professionally and decisiveness toward lawbreakers, and will not allow harm to come to police officers during their service for the sake of the public. However, the suspects can turn to the internal affairs division, which will evaluate their claims, should there be any.

Michael Salisbury-Coresh is an anti-occupation and public housing activist based in Jerusalem. This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call, where he is a blogger. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Ginger Eis

      This article contains unfounded, malicious allegation against Israeli Police! Here is why:

      1. This is what the video clip shows:

      a. Cops were in the process of making legitimate arrest(s);
      b. The suspect resisted arrest;
      c. The suspect attacked the cops;
      d. The cops applied legitimate, proportionate force to defend themselves and subdue the violent suspect;
      e. The cops managed to subdue the violent suspect, handcuffed and arrested him and took him away;
      f. Meanwhile, a hysterical woman was yelling and screaming during the pandemonium caused by the violent suspect, attacking the cops and trying to prevent them from carrying out their lawful duty;

      The evidence thus demonstrates as follows: NO police brutality occurred here – contrary to what Mr. Michael Salisbury-Coresh claimed in this article.

      2. The rest of what is claimed in this article is (a) unsupported by evidence and (b) internally inconsistent. For example, the suspect FIRST claimed: ”I have a disability, and I was very afraid of being arrested”. That is absolute nonsense, because ‘having a disability’ is precisely the reason why your proverbial “average/reasonable person” would NOT resist arrest. Beyond that, it took about four cops to take the suspect down! So much for “I have a disablitly”. Then the suspect claimed further: “I refused to be arrested, and told the officers that they have no reason to do so.” Yikes! There you have your answer, folks. Talal just CONFESSED to resisting arrest because, according to Talal, “there is no reason” to arrest him! Oy veh!

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        You actually did what I half in jest predicted you’d do! LoL!

        Nah. Bilal and Talal are telling the truth. The video and their account are perfectly compatible. The cops are lying. It was a false arrest and unprovoked police brutality by thuggish police who viciously set upon poor innocent people trying to have a little lunch, and then brutally abused them down at the ol’ station house, and lied and lied. We understand you couldn’t give a sh*t about justice for these people, but we weren’t born yesterday. Your credo is very stirring and makes my heart swell with moral admiration:
        “It’s what we can get away with that matters! And if we can get away with it, that makes you a freier! Hooray!”

        Reply to Comment
        • BigCat

          “Bilal and Talal are telling the truth. The video and their account are perfectly compatible.”

          Explain that, Benny, because the video show Talal Salman resisting arrest and attacking the cops who were arresting him.

          “The cops are lying.”

          How so, Benn? Where is your evidence?

          “It was a false arrest and unprovoked police brutality by thuggish police who viciously set upon poor innocent people trying to have a little lunch”

          How so, Benny? Where is your evidence?

          Reply to Comment
    2. Tony Riley

      So, somebody is lying. You just assume it is the police, but you could be mistaken.

      In Gaza or Palestine, if you resist arrest they shoot you.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Yep. And rightly so. Arabs only understand language of violence, which is the reason why honour killings are so widespread in Arab world.

        Reply to Comment
      • Rami

        1) Gaza IS Palestine
        2) Sounds like you’ve never been in Palestine so I can only assume your making sh*t up for the sake of making sh*t up.

        Reply to Comment
    3. BigCat

      “Our investigation revealed that the suspects fled to the store, where they resisted arrest and those present attempted to prevent the police officers from conducting the arrests. The officers were resigned to use proportional force and arrested three suspects. Jerusalem Police will continue to act professionally and decisiveness toward lawbreakers, and will not allow harm to come to police officers during their service for the sake of the public. However, the suspects can turn to the internal affairs division, which will evaluate their claims, should there be any.”

      The video clip embedded in the article supports the statement by the Jerusalem Police!

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      Eis will be along any minute to tell us this is just a 2-minute video and we don’t know what happened before or after this “successful operation” cuz we lack scintillas. And it is not not not about what REALLY happened! Who cares? It’s not about right and wrong. It’s not for us to worry about brutality by soldiers and police. It’s what you can get away with! And what shamelessly weaselly “legal” pseudo-argument you can get away with! Yessiree! And do we have proof, proof! the police are lying?! And if not then we should mind our own beeswax and get our miserable sight out of Her Honor’s presence.. Because all the world’s an Israeli courtroom. There’s no such thing as journalism and there’s no such thing as truth. She’ll swing her gavel, bam!, case closed, court adjourned! Eis’s credo: “It’s what we can get away with that matters! And if we can get away with it, that makes you a freier! Hooray!” What a great moral stance.

      Reply to Comment