A group of roughly 15 people who were recently protesting outside of the Washington D.C. home of an Ambassador from Turkey were injured after an alleged attack from those securing the area of the residence.
The personal injury lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court alleging that protestors endured “repeated brutality” from the security staff for Tayyip Erdogan. In addition, several arrest warrants were issued for members of the security team, some of which are Turkish citizens. A video of the altercation that occurred on Sheridan Circle showed men in suits and military-style attire punching and kicking protestors outside of the residence.
According to the Washington Post, the group seeks over $100 million in total damages. Attorneys for the plaintiffs said that the video evidence is very convincing and called the case “open and shut”. They believe that the actions are not subject to any of the protections that provide the defendants with immunity. Murat Yasa, a 62-year-old victim, says he lost several teeth, suffered a concussion, and is having memory loss. Other victims claimed to have seizures, post-traumatic stress, and various other physical injuries. The Metropolitan Police also arrested four people involved at the scene for assault-related criminal charges.
Representation from the Turkish Foreign Minister blames the incident on insufficient security action from the local D.C. authorities. Elif Genc claims to have been assaulted despite local police efforts to separate the parties. The video apparently shows that the Turkish security officials were the ones who initiated the violence. Many of the criminal assault charges had been reportedly dropped since the incident.
Suing Foreign Governments
According to U.S. code, private U.S. citizens are generally unable to bring civil actions against foreign governments except for in the following potential circumstances:
- When seeking monetary damages for personal injury or wrongful death, when the actions of the foreign employee or official are while the individual is operating within the scope of their employment
- If the foreign state has waived the right to immunity
- When the actions are involved with commercial activities here in the U.S.
- If international law relating to property rights is violated
As the video footage has circulated, diplomatic activity has been underway between members of the government of Turkey and the U.S. State Department. Ambassador Tayyip Erdogan was identified as being at the scene at the time. The plaintiffs claim to have hundreds of hours of video footage from both surveillance cameras and mobile device cameras. One scene showed someone carrying a child who was suddenly forced to the ground.