Jajao Bimaro, 27, said he had been attacked with pepper spray and an electric shocker by a policeman in Haifa who told him "Go back to Africa." His complaint at the Police Internal Investigations Department is still being examined. But it was his Facebook post that sparked outrage.
- State honors memory of Ethiopian Jews
- Ethiopian students? Not in our school
- Marching barefoot for Ethiopian rights
"I have mixed feelings about what happened since I went public with the attack. On the one hand the response moved me. There are lots of people who care and are supporting me. On the other hand, I'm not used to this type of exposure and it's a bit nerve rattling," Bimero said.
Signs of attack on Bimero's chest
The attack Bimero is referring to occurred on Passover eve. He was trying to hail a cab after leaving a nightclub at about 5 am when a scuffle broke out in a nearby kiosk.
"We were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but also had the wrong skin color," Bimero said. "A police car suddenly came racing by and stopped at the middle of the intersection. Two policemen came out and one of them approached a girl, who is also Ethiopian, as she stepped out of the club. She had absolutely nothing to do with the scuffle but the officer kicked her and after she fell to the ground slapped her and threatened to use the electric shocker on her."
Bimero added, "He then used pepper spray against me, directly at the eyes, for no reason and with no provocation on my part. Later and while I was still completely blind from the spray he used the electric shocker on me, with no warning and completely unnecessarily. This left contusion marks on my body."
Bimero also described how he was subjected to racist slurs. "While lying there in the middle of the night, wrongly assaulted, the officer yelled at me 'go back to Africa' and seasoned it with extra profanity. No amount of pepper spray or electric shock could hurt me as much as those words did."
A student at the Hebrew University and former combatant at an elite IDF unit, Bimero filed a complaint several days later. He provided the Justice Ministry with photos and testimonies but is skeptical as to the chances that any charges will be pressed. "The physical pain may have subsided over time but the mental anguish only exacerbates," he said.
Attorney Evyatar Knoller, who is representing Bimero, welcomed the media attention given to the case but stressed that the real issue should be "the racism spreading among us, whether it is directed at Arabs, Sudanese, Russians or Ethiopians." He added, "This case reflects the outcomes of racism in their toughest form."
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop