TAMPA — The Consul General of Israel to Florida said on Wednesday that he expects the Israeli police officers who attacked Tampa teenager Tariq Khdeir in early July will be indicted.
“My understanding is that they are about to serve them an indictment for excessive use of force,” Chaim Shacham told The Tampa Tribune’s editorial board Wednesday.
Shacham also condemned the murder of Tariq’s cousin, 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was abducted and burned alive not long before Tariq was beaten. The murder was widely viewed as retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of three Israel teens.
“His cousin was murdered in a despicable act of revenge,” Shacham said. “All of Israel’s leadership throughout the spectrum condemned it. The prime minister of Israel called the parents and gave their condolences. That is something that should not of happened and we will not tolerate.”
Tariq said he was beaten by police as he was watching protests of the murder of his cousin. The beating was captured on video and seen across the world, drawing widespread condemnation.
Tariq, a 15-year-old student at Universal Academy of Florida in Tampa, was placed under house arrest before he was released. He returned last week to Tampa.
“This will go through the justice system,” Shacham said. “This is apparently a case of police brutality, which is unfortunate.”
Hassan Shibly, the executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations and who is representing Tariq and his family, said Wednesday that he has heard one officer was suspended for 15 days and that someone might be indicted.
In the video, three officers are seen at the scene beating Tariq Khdeir, Shibly said.
“Just to have one officer suspended is outrageous,” Shibly said. “They should all be brought to justice to send a clear message that Israel won’t tolerate that brutal treatment against Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli police.”
Shibly said Shacham took an important step condemning the attacks against Muhammad Abu Khdeir and Tariq Khdeir.
“But we need to see those comments translated into action on the ground in how the Israeli government treats the Palestinian people as a whole,” Shibly said.