Probe into Ashkelon brutality case opened

Police are investigating claims by African-American converts that immigration inspectors used severe violence against them.

By RON FRIEDMAN
October 24, 2010 02:14
1 minute read.

Ashkelon police confirmed Thursday that it was conducting a mutual investigation into the complaint by Trina Woodcox against Oz Unit immigration inspectors, who she claimed beat her and her family members during a wrongful arrest in her home in Ashkelon Tuesday evening, and the inspectors’ claim that they were the ones attacked.

On Wednesday Woodcox, the matriarch of a family of African American converts, who recently moved to Israel with plans of immigrating, accused Oz inspectors of using severe violence against her and her family, in the process of wrongfully arresting her son-in-law on charges that he was an illegal resident.

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A police spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post that the family members arrived at the station accompanied by Oz Unit officers on Tuesday evening, and that complaints of assault by both sides against one another were registered.

The police response came after Woodcox claimed the police ignored her complaint and that she was turned away without a complaint file being opened.

The police spokeswoman also denied that there had been police officers present on the scene at the time of the arrest, countering claims by the Woodcox family and neighbors who had stated that Ashkelon police had accompanied the Oz inspectors to the apartment.

Meanwhile the family’s lawyer, Nicole Maor, who acts as legal counsel for the Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement, filed a complaint with the police internal affairs unit, requesting that an investigation be conducted immediately into the actions of the Ashkelon police force.

Woodcox returned from hospital Thursday afternoon suffering from dizzy spells she attributed to blows to the head she suffered at the hand of the inspectors. She said her daughter Kristine, who is seven months pregnant, had recovered from internal bleeding she said were the result of being kicked in the stomach.

Sean Garrett, the man who was arrested, suffered severe sprains in his wrists that he said were caused by being handcuffed to the car seat.


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