The U.S. is asking for a “a speedy, transparent and credible investigation” into the alleged beating of a Palestinian-American teenager by Israeli police during riots in East Jerusalem earlier this week.
The Israeli Justice Ministry says it is investigating the incident after an online video clip appeared to show two Israeli police attacking and kicking a young person wearing a mask or head covering before dragging him away, Reuters reports. Although the target’s identity has not been identified or confirmed because his face is obscured and the quality of the footage is low, the family of 15-year-old Tariq Khdeir, who was visiting from Tampa, Fla., said their teenager was the victim.
Recent pictures of Khdeir show him with a black eye and a swollen face, injuries the high school sophomore’s family said he sustained while being taken into police custody in the video. Addameer, a Palestinian human rights organization, said Khdeir was detained without charge between July 3 and July 6 and denied medical treatment for hours. The organization also said he was released on bail on Sunday and will serve nine days of house arrest at his uncle’s home in Jerusalem.
Khdeir is the cousin of Mohammed Abu-Khdeir, a Palestinian teen whose burned body was discovered Wednesday, sparking a number of riots and protests. Palestinians believe Khdeir was killed out of apparent revenge for the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, and Israeli authorities arrested a number of Jewish suspects Sunday.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Tariq Khdeir was one of six rioters, three of whom were carrying knives, who were caught and detained in the riots following the discovery of Mohammed Abu-Khdeir’s body. Khdeir’s father said he witnessed the arrest and that the boy did not take part in any violence, the New York Times reports.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said an official from the consulate in Jerusalem visited Khdeir on Saturday.
“We are profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force,” Psaki said in a statement. “We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.”