Updated June 15
Washington’s police chief on Thursday, June 15 said that 12 members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail are wanted to face assault charges over an attack on anti-Erdogan protestors in Washington, DC on May 16 in which nine people were injured.
Update on May 16, 2017 Incident in Sheridan Circle https://t.co/RTwqO5zbYM
— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) June 15, 2017
Speaking at a press conference alongside Washington’s Mayor, Muriel Bowser, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham said: “Using video of the incident, law enforcement has been able to identify the majority of suspects who were involved in the assault.”
Bowser said law enforcement officers compared video screenshots to visas and passport images, and Newsham said that the State Dept was providing assistance to MPD, particularly aiding with identifications.
In an affidavit, MPD wrote that: “Turkish security personnel and others assaulted protesters and US law enforcement officers in at least three separate incidents.”
“On Tuesday, June 13, MPD was able to obtain arrest warrants for 16 people we believe to be involved in the assaults. Two were US citizens, two were Canadian citizens and the remainder were Turkish citizens.”
Nine of the Turkish citizens identified by police were described as security officers, and the remaining three were described as police officers. Images of the Turkish and Canadian suspects were also released.
Newsham said that some suspects remain unidentified, and MPD will release video and photographs and ask for the public’s help in identify thing them.
Regarding the 12 Turkish citizens, Newsham said: “Any additional actions regarding the execution of these warrants will be made by the State Dept under appropriate laws and regulations,” adding that “If they attempt to enter the United States they will be arrested.”
It is unclear what if any action the State Department might take in relation to extraditing the suspects, or what immunity they may have or had.
Asked if President Erdogan himself will face charges, Newsham said: “We don’t have any information right now to suggest that we have probable cause to make an arrest.” Video shows Erdogan apparently watching the assaults.
On June 14, MPD said said two men had been charged for their part in the violence near the Turkish ambassador’s residence. Newsham made clear that these two men are US citizens.
Sinan Narin was arrested in Virginia and charged with felony Aggravated Assault and misdemeanor Assault or Threatened Assault in a Menacing Manner, and Eyup Yildirim (above, in light coloured shirt) was arrested in New Jersey on charges of felony Assault with Significant Bodily Injury, felony Aggravated Assault and misdemeanor Assault or Threatened Assault in a Menacing Manner.
On May 28, the New York Times identified Yildirim and Narin by video analysis.
Yildirim said “I’m an American citizen and a taxpayer,” not long after being filmed repeatedly kicking a woman as she lay on the ground.
Narin also repeatedly kicked a woman on the ground. In an interview, he said: “I wasn’t paying attention … I thought it was a man. I would never kick a woman.”
The Associated Press first reported that 12 members of Erdogan’s security detail would be charged on June 14.