Memphis police chief trained with Israeli occupation forces: Report
A report highlights that the Memphis Police chief took part in a so-called "leadership training" with the Israeli occupation police in 2013.
Less than a month since the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols at the hands of five police officers who beat him to death in Memphis, activists are reviving criticisms over a series of US police training and exchange programs with the Israeli occupation, The Intercept reported.
According to the news website, several US law enforcement leaders have attended such programs and gained experience in brutality from Israeli occupation police and security forces.
The report highlighted that Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis took part in a so-called "leadership training" with the Israeli occupation police in 2013. Davis' resume also reveals that while an officer with the Atlanta Police Department, she founded an international exchange program with the occupation police and coordinated department leaders' delegations to occupied Palestine.
"We know, without a shadow of a doubt, that what takes place during US-Israel police exchanges does nothing to keep our communities safe," Eran Efrati, director of campaigns and partnerships for the progressive group Jewish Voice for Peace, was quoted by The Intercept as saying.
Efrati explained that "the exchanges refine and enhance the militarization rooted in American policing with Israeli tactics and technology of occupation and apartheid that are being tested on Palestinians on a daily basis."
Following pressure from local activists and a national campaign to end exchanges with the Israeli occupation police, Durham, where Davis once served as chief, became in 2018 the first American city to ban police training and exchanges with the occupation military, the report mentioned.
At the time, Davis announced in a memo that she had "no intention to participate or initiate an exchange with Israel." This led two Israeli volunteer police officers to sue her and the Durham police department for alleged "discrimination".
According to Efrati, "During these trainings in Israel, U.S. and Israeli officials visit checkpoints, prisons, airports — sites of well-documented human rights abuses against Palestinians."
He added that "participants witness real-life examples of repressive violence, watching the Israeli military repress protests in the occupied West Bank, and joining Israeli police patrols in East Jerusalem" and along the separation wall separating the Gaza Strip from the '48 Palestinian occupied territories.
Alex Vitale, a professor of sociology and author of The End of Policing, told The Intercept that "the kinds of training police are given in Israel is actually part of the problem because it encourages a warrior mindset in police and exposes them to practices that would be unconstitutional in the U.S."