Israel Police officers enforce lockdown restrictions, January 8, 2020.
(photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
A falafel shop owner from Shoham claimed on Friday that he was assaulted by police officers who arrived at his business in order to fine him for opening his store in violation of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, police reported.
However, video footage released by the police shows that the owner was the first one to attack, shoving a table towards one of the officers who notified him that he will be fined for operating a business in violation of the guidelines and shouting, "What's wrong with you? Who do you think you are?"
The owner, Ilan Atlan, 50, and his son were eventually arrested by police after reinforcements arrived to the scene. But the Kfar Saba District Court refused to extend their arrest, according to Ynet.
Atlan later claimed that he didn't assault the officers and stressed that there was no illegal gathering taking place when the officers arrived.
"There weren't any customers," he told Ynet. "Who eats falafel at 09:30 a.m.? I just came to make a living ... the situation is bad - and he comes to fine me and assaults me in the process?".
Atlan arrived to the hospital with bruise marks, some of them still bleeding, according to Ynet. "They hit me, shot me with a taser. A taser. I'm 50 years-old. In front of my son, an 18-year-old. Why did he need to see his father get beaten up?" Ataln said.
A bystander who witnessed the incident unfolding told N12 that it seemed like the owner wanted to operate the business through deliveries. "I heard screams and I ran downstairs. I saw the cops and started filming. It seemed like they were there because he opened up in violation of the restrictions, but I understood that he wanted to offer deliveries. I don't know if the door was open or closed."
תיעוד: בעל חנות פלאפל ובנו נעצרו בשוהם לאחר עימות עם שוטריםשוטרים הגיעו הבוקר לחנות פלאפל בשוהם, התעמתו עם בעל החנות ועם בנו – ולבסוף עצרו את שניהם • במשטרה טענו: "בעל העסק הוזהר אתמול ותקף הבוקר את השוטרים" • צפו בתיעודhttps://t.co/xEiDimewRmpic.twitter.com/QBY79gDr4O
According to Atlan's attorney, appointed by the "Falafel BaRibua" franchise, the business was operating according to the Health Ministry's guidelines. "In today's incident in Shoham, the officers were insensitive and acted with excess violence while imposing force and using a taser which was unnecessary," attorney Adi Carmeli said, according to Ynet. He added that he intends to send the relevant materials to the Police Investigation Department (PID).
A police statement released after the incident read: "On Thursday the owner of the business had a hearing for operating a business in violation of restrictions prohibiting providing services inside the business. He was issued a warning. Today, the police received a complaint that indicated that the business in question was violating the restrictions and selling food, while creating a gathering in the location.
Police officers who arrived to the scene were assaulted by the business owner and his son, which included a table and a chair being thrown at them. Both individuals were arrested and taken to the nearby police station. The police intends on extending the arrest of the owner." According to the current coronavirus lockdown restrictions, which came into effect on Thursday, January 7, at midnight, retail, entertainment and leisure businesses would remain closed, unless they operate by providing deliveries. Businesses that do not receive customers can operate at a 50% capacity. In the case of the falafel shop in Shoham, it is unclear at this point whether the owner had any intention of receiving customers or if he only planned to offer deliveries.
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