Palestinian tourist tells of being “Tasered” by Israeli police – while handcuffed
Issued on: Modified:
Last week, a Palestinian tourist who tried to intervene in a dispute between a policeman and a youth in a Tel Aviv amusement park ended up being Tasered by the police officer. The incident, which was filmed by passers-by, has caused outrage in Israel. The tourist in question told us his story.
Screenshot of an amateur video showing a policeman “Tasering” a Palestinian tourist. Video posted on YouTube on August 22.
Last week, a tourist who tried to intervene in a dispute between a policeman and a youth in a Tel Aviv amusement park ended up being Tasered by the police officer. The incident, which was filmed by passers-by, has caused outrage in Israel. The tourist in question told us his story.
On August 21, Talal Sayyad, 42, went to the Meymadion water park in Tel Aviv to spend the Eid holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan, with his wife, five children, and friends. While he was there, a fight broke out in the water park. According to Sayyad, he attempted to intervene when a policeman allegedly used a Taser against one of the troublemakers. A few seconds later, Sayyad was “Tasered” five times, right in front of his wife and children.
Part of the incident was filmed by passers-by and posted on YouTube. In the footage, a man can be seen getting shot by a Taser and falling to the ground. Handcuffed by a policeman, he then tries to get up and is Tasered several more times, while a small crowd tries to convince the policeman to stop. The Tel Aviv police denied any abuse and stated that the footage was “altered in a way that does not convey the reality of the situation,” adding that the “man in the film attacked the policeman and interfered in the execution of his duties.” The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has pointed out that in Israel, it is illegal to use a Taser against a handcuffed person.
Talal Sayyad filed a complaint on August 23 for police brutality.
WARNING: The following images may shock viewers.
“I intervened to ask the policemen to stop brutalizing the youth and scaring the children”
While at the park, we saw a fight break out between park security and a group of young Arabs — which I recognised due to their accent. The security officers wanted to kick them out of the park because the teenagers were fighting. I tried to intervene to calm everyone down, to no avail. The security officers decided to call the police, so I returned to my family’s side.
Several minutes later, as I was getting ready to accompany my three-year old son to one of the swimming pools, I saw a policeman pepper spray one of the youths who had been trying to flee, and then use a Taser against him. It was a shocking scene. There were families all around. I went to ask the policeman to stop brutalizing this young man and frightening the children. I said to him, ‘What are you doing? You are going to kill these children’ [Israeli police stated that it came to the scene because there was a ‘general fight between two families and several people had been injured.’]. But, to my great surprise, one of them pointed his Taser at me, even though I was still holding my son by the hand. I brought my child back to my wife and I came back to talk to the policeman because I was indignant – I could not just stand by and say nothing.
“I have never received such a psychological shock”
It’s at this moment that I received a Taser shot, and fell to the ground. The police handcuffed me then. I tried to get up, but they kept Tasering me. In all, I was Tasered five times. Shocked, several other persons tried to intervene, but to no avail. When the policeman Tasered me as I was trying to get up off the ground, some people screamed at the policeman: ‘Stop! Are you crazy? He is handcuffed, you can’t do this!’ Others were saying: ‘They’re filming you, you idiot!’ One of our friends was holding back my 14-year old son to prevent him from coming to help me. My friend feared that my son would also, in turn, be shot with a Taser.
I am sure that the police abused me because I am an Arab. Otherwise, how can you explain why they didn’t do anything to all the other people who were there, who were yelling at them? It’s this kind of behaviour that feeds the hatred between Jews and Arabs. How am I supposed to explain to my children what they just witnessed? I cannot lie to them and tell them it was just a game.
I was beaten several times by Israeli security forces because I participated in the first and second Intifada, but I have never received such a psychological shock. I am now recovering from my stomach burns and the nausea caused by the Taser rounds. I have filed a complaint with the Ministry of Justice, and hope to prove, with the support of witnesses and the videotaped scene, that I was unfairly attacked. I want justice to be served.