“Some of us vomited and didn’t feel well. I kept spitting blood, afraid to swallow any of my teeth. Others urinated and defecated after being cooped up for seven hours. [I begged to see a doctor and a policeman replied] if you keep this up we’ll break more of your teeth.”
Above: file photo for illustration purposes only
Ethiopian Jews Say They Were Beaten By Police And Mistreated – After Being Taken Into Custody
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Several Ethiopian Jews who were arrested at a demonstration against police brutality and racism Sunday in Tel Aviv say they were beaten and mistreated by police after being arrested.
According to a report in Ha’aretz, the men say they were kept overnight in a police van and, despite being badly beaten, were denied medical treatment and not allowed out to use a bathroom.
Twenty-five-year-old Nebo Ari Bako of Bnei Brak had his jaw and teeth broken by police after he and others blocked traffic on the Ayalon Highway.
Bako claims he did not resist arrest. But he says other protesters tried to pull him out of the police van, and that a police officer responded by pulling his hair, chocking him, twisted his arm and holding him while a second police officer allegedly hit him in the face and back of the head with a police radio, breaking his jaw and some his teeth. Bako vomited, and police told him he would have to clean the car.
Three hours later, at about 6:00 pm, Bako was finally taken to a hospital. He says he lost consciousness several times on the way. At the hospital, he was chained to the bed. He was eventually given a CT scan and told he needed to see a jaw specialist, but there wasn’t one in the hospital. So hospital staff told police were told to bring Bako back the next morning.
Police took Bako to the Glilot police station where he was kept overnight in a police van with about 20 detainees.
“Some of us vomited and didn’t feel well. I kept spitting blood, afraid to swallow any of my teeth. Others urinated and defecated after being cooped up for seven hours. [I begged to see a doctor and a policeman replied] if you keep this up we’ll break more of your teeth,” Bako said.
In the morning, police took Bako and the others to magistrate’s court – not to the hospital. Bako was charged with rioting, threats, assaulting a policeman and escaping detention. The magistrate ordered police to release Bako to house arrest on bail until Saturday and to have the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department investigate his injuries.
Twenty-eight-year-old Kobi Tagania, who is from a small town near Tel Aviv, took a “selfie” that had Tel Aviv District Police Commander Bentzi Sau in the background. He says that provoked police who grabbed him and handcuffed him.
“But fortunately there were TV cameras there…A policewoman swore at me and said, if there wasn’t a camera here I’d kick your ass and beat you up,” Tagania said.
Tagania said he was locked up with other detainees, some of whom were clearly injured, in the police van.
“They treated us like animals…people peed in water bottles and defecated…We couldn’t breathe. I vomited from the stench three or four times…One of the policemen said 'you should be grateful for being brought to this country,'” Tagania said.
Police insist Tagania pushed policemen and hit them with hard objects, and they say he reeked of alcohol.
Tagania was charged with rioting and assaulting a policeman, and was released to house arrest and banned from Tel Aviv and from all demonstrations for 20 days.
Gaby Lasky is an attorney representing Bako, Tagania and some of the other detainees. He says all of them complained about police violence.
Lior Golan is an attorney with the public defender’s office. He represents 12 of the detainees, and said many of them were denied their legal right to speak with an attorney before their interrogation.
“Once a person is in custody, there’s no justification for violence. I’ve never seen so many detainees brought to court with injuries and it’s the first time I hear of demonstrators kept in a police van overnight,” Lasky said.
An official police spokeswoman called the allegations made by these Ethiopian Jews “a perverse attempt to slander the police officers who did their duty by law to disperse an illegal protest,” and insisted the protesters threw stones, injured horses and tried to take over City Hall.