JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli police officer shown in a video beating Palestinian-American teen Tariq Abu Khdeir was suspended and could be indicted.
The officer, who has not been named, was suspended Wednesday for at least 15 days pending a hearing on whether charges will be brought, a statement from Israel’s Justice Ministry said.
Following a probe of the July 3 arrest of Khdeir, 15, of Tampa, Fla., the ministry said that “apparent evidence was found supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes, committed after the arrest of the minor, and while the minor was handcuffed.”
The ministry statement said the incident occurred during Palestinian riots in eastern Jerusalem during which an undercover police unit arrested several masked youths throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police. Tariq was arrested for allegedly taking part in the riots while covering his face with a kaffiyah and carrying a slingshot.
In a video that garnered widespread attention internationally, Tariq is shown being pinned down by an Israeli border policeman while another office pummels him with his feet and kicks his head. The teen was seen in photographs after his arrest with a bloody face, black eyes and a severely swollen lip.
The ministry’s Police Investigations Department opened an investigation into the incident after the video came to light and went viral, the ministry said.
The incident prompted the U.S. State Department to call for a “speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.”