Tel Aviv scene 311.
(photo credit: Joe Yudin)
Police suspended two volunteer officers from Bat Yam on Wednesday night after
they allegedly robbed a bar belonging to African migrants in south Tel Aviv and
used pepper spray on the patrons.
The two suspects, aged 24 and 25, were
not wearing uniforms but were driving a marked police vehicle when they raided
the establishment on Herlinger Street near the old central bus
The two men were arrested shortly after the raid, after police
received a call from African migrants at the bar. On Thursday morning, Tel Aviv
police said they had handed over the case to the Justice Ministry’s department
for investigating police officers.
At a bar across the street from the
one that was raided, a young Eritrean man said on Thursday that the two cops had
come to his bar a little before 11 p.m. and asked for everyone to leave before
demanding that he turn over the keys. The man said he refused and the two
officers made their way to the bar across the street.
Inside the raided
establishment, a patron pointed to a refrigerator door he said was shattered by
the cops, while an employee described how the two officers arrived at the bar,
saying that they were there to shut down the establishment for operating after
11 p.m. The employee said the police told everyone to leave, before asking for
the keys, going inside and locking the door. The employee said the cops used the
pepper spray as they were leaving, after people started to walk back into the
bar. They then fled in their vehicle, the employee said.
have long complained of what they say is harassment by police, who they accuse
of raiding bars after hours on a near-nightly basis, forcing out the patrons and
closing the establishments for making noise after 11 p.m.
At the Knesset
in mid-February, Hadash MK Dov Henin brought the matter to the attention of
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who said he would look into the
matter, adding that “there is no policy of pursuing or harassing infiltrators”
and that the state is not carrying out a policy of harassment against the