2 volunteer cops suspended for alleged robbery

The two plain-clothes men suspected of robbing African-migrant bar in Tel Aviv, pepper sprayed patrons; used police car.

Tel Aviv scene 311 (photo credit: Joe Yudin)
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 station.
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.
African migrants 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 migrant community.