For the record, Pro-Freedom/Democracy supporters have been peacefully protesting in front of the White House for the last two months without any incident. Members of the Syrian Emergency Task Force have helped organize in addition to other groups. However, the incident marked the first time the police got involved, and unfortunately, arrested the wrong individual. Furthermore, what happened on Saturday was the first time Pro-Assad supporters convened to launch a counter-protest.~PITA POLICY
Victim’s Testimony: Assault by Pro-Assad Supporters in Washington, DC“‘One hour good?’ I asked my family just before printing our parking receipt. Everyone nodded in agreement: it was a hot sunny day and none of us knew much about Syria. An hour would be plenty to check out the Syrian awareness rally, and grab some ice cream in the city. On the way over to the event, my niece, sister, brother, and I talked about our favorite ice cream flavors. Little did I know though that our day would not end with ice cream.
Less than a minute after stepping foot on the lawn across from the White House, a man in his 20’s grabbed the collar of my shirt, and yelled at the top of his lungs in Arabic “Oh people, this is him, this is him! Come and kill him! This is him – Kill him!” Completely confused, I thought the guy was joking. In my natural good-humored response, I started laughing; but quickly, I realized it was no joke. The crowd swelled around me, pounding on me from every direction and chanting, “Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!” Helpless, I yelled out in English “No, no, you have the wrong guy!” I tried reasoning with them, “Who are you looking for?” They ignored my pleas, and increased their aggression, chanting and cursing at me in both English and Arabic.
Before I knew it, a guy much bigger than me jumped on me from behind and put me in a headlock, forcing me to the ground. Meanwhile, the circle around me grew to over 20 men, hitting, kicking, and punching me from all directions. The men, women, and children cheered and chanted in unison “Kill him! Kill him!” Fearing for their lives, my niece and sister ran away from the crowd and went to look for help as they screamed frantically. My brother tried to distract the mob to no avail.
Still nailed to the ground, with blood gushing out of my forehead, legs, and ribs, all stinging against the burning sun, I felt the ebb of pain. My eyes saw the world blurred together, and my ears heard the curses muffled into an inaudible cacophony. I was on the verge of losing my consciousness. The next thing I remember is being dragged away to safety by a team of men in blue: U.S. Park Police and Secret Service Police.
Although the U.S. police officers had just saved my life, amidst the craziness of the angry mob, they were unsure of who was the victim and who was the aggressor. They proceeded to handcuff and detain me for almost 3 hours while “they sorted things out.” They were unable to identify the men who tried to kill me because the mob was so big. Finally, as the rally died down, my family identified one of the main ringleaders that placed me in a chokehold. The cops briefly detained and questioned him, and gave me two options:
1.) Spend the weekend in jail along with the perpetrator until a judge could
hear the case on Monday. All witnesses would have to be present on Monday, including my young niece, or they could be subpoenaed.
2.) Each of us write a witness statement, and then I decline to
Because I did not want my family to see me spend the weekend in jail for ironically being the victim of a horrendous crime, I chose the latter option. I wanted to in fact press charges to the fullest extent under the law and prosecute these Pro-Assad terrorists who beat and victimized me in front of my family.
Prior to today’s atrocious experience, I had not been following the situation in Syria, and considered myself merely a bystander. But after being beat up by Pro-Assad thugs for no reason, I express my deepest sympathies for the people of Syria. Considering the injuries I sustained on U.S. soil, right across from the White House, I cannot even imagine what types of atrocities are occurring in Syria!
I did some research and found that the ringleaders who put me in a chokehold is a 25 year old from Allentown, PA. His name is “Elias Batihk.” He wants to be a police officer. His twitter site is: http://twitter.com/#!/KingEliii10
Just moments after beating me, on the afternoon of June 11th, he tweeted “Anti Assad protester attacks Pro Assad demonstrators outside the White house in DC . You tell me who wants democracy”
I am committed to sharing the truth with all of you. Born and raised in America, democracy is in my blood. Nevertheless, I did not come to the rally to fight for democracy; I came to observe, and share a good time in the city with my family. For no reason, I ended up on the ground, humiliated and beat by Pro-Assad thugs. If it were not for the U.S. Secret Service, I may have taken my last breath through that suffocating headlock. Although my Saturday did not end in ice cream, I am refreshed with life, and a new mission to stop the Pro-Assad thugs from further terrorism at home and abroad.”