One of the Turkish-American men who was arrested for attacking peaceful protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence last month faces hate crime charges, according to papers filed in federal court.
Eyup Yildirim, a 50-year-old construction company owner living in New Jersey, is charged with assault with significant bodily injury and aggravated assault for his role in the May 16 attacks, which left nine Kurdish protesters injured.
According to papers filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, where Yildirim was arrested last week, his alleged crimes — which involved “kicking another person in the head and face” — “were motivated by ethnic bias.”
The documents were filed in federal court last week but the hate crime charges have not yet been reported. In Washington, D.C., bias-related, or hate, crime charges include provisions that add additional time to jail sentences and fines.
Yildirim was among a group of supporters of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who joined with Turkish security officers to attack the protesters as they were demonstrating across the street from the ambassador’s residence. (RELATED: Meet The Erdogan Goon Who Kicked A Female Protester Outside Turkish Embassy)
Prior to the attacks, both sides of the melee were seen yelling and chanting back and forth, calling each other terrorists.
As the standoff escalated, the Turkish delegation stormed across the street to where the protesters were staged and began punching, kicking and stomping the largely Kurdish delegation.
Yildirim was recorded on video kicking a Kurdish protester named Lucy Usoyan while she laid in a defensive position on the ground.
Usoyan told The Daily Caller in an interview last month that she lost consciousness during the attack. She was transported to the hospital where she was given a CT scan and diagnosed with a head injury.
Yildirim and another Erdogan supporter named Sinan Narin were arrested last week. Washington, D.C. Metro Police also issued arrest warrants for 12 members of Erdogan’s security detail as well as two Turkish-Canadian men who took part in the attacks.
It is not clear if Narin also faces hate crime charges.
The Turkish government has claimed that the Kurdish protesters posed a physical threat to Erdogan. The regime has also asserted that the protesters were terrorists who support PKK, a Kurdish separatist party considered a terrorist group by Turkey and the U.S. There is no indication that the protesters were involved in terrorist activities.
Video recorded of Erdogan during the melee also shows that he faced no physical threat from the demonstrators. Surrounded by bodyguards, Erdogan looked on calmly from the back of a Mercedes Benz as the attack unfolded. Video footage also suggests that he directly ordered his entourage to attack.
Yildirim was initially denied bail and reportedly faces up to 19 years in prison if convicted. He was booked into jail in Essex Co., N.J. last week following his arrest. Inmate records show he was released from that facility on Thursday. It it not clear if he is being transported to Washington, D.C. or if he was granted bail.
The Washington, D.C. Metro Police Department referred The Daily Caller to the U.S. attorney in Washington for information on the case. A request for comment submitted to the office was not immediately returned.