An alleged hate crime took place at Café Istanbul on the 300 block of South Beverly Drive on Nov. 4. According to the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD), a group of 6-8 male subjects, ranging in age from 20-30, entered the café at approximately 8:30 p.m. The suspects proceeded to destroy property inside the establishment while making pro-Armenia comments. The suspects physically attacked the employees inside the restaurant and later in the alley outside of the restaurant. The victims sustained minor injuries and refused medical treatment at the scene.
Sam Turac, a nephew of the restaurant owner, gave the Courier additional details about the events.
“Three or four gentlemen entered the store and started breaking stuff. We had five members of our family here at the time. The men started throwing chairs at my uncle, who got up and went to the front to protect my aunt. But, my aunt realized there were several other men with the group just waiting, so she pulled my uncle back in. They completely trashed the place. They shattered all of our computers. One of the guys picked up my aunt’s phone and put it in his pocket. My uncle went to the E.R., because he had bruises from where the chair hit him,” said Turac.
Understandably, Turac said his entire family is shaken up.
“We have never experienced this kind of thing. We are just trying to make a living. We have been here since 2012. We are here because we don’t support our government, that’s the reason we came here. I understand why the Armenian kids are frustrated. But this kind of crime is not acceptable. This is not the way to discuss things. The place is completely shattered,” said Turac.
Still, he added, “Even after it all happened, we don’t hate anybody.”
In a statement released on Nov. 5, the BHPD indicated, “The Detective Bureau, along with our High Tech Crime Unit, are currently investigating. All surveillance video will be reviewed in the hope of identifying the suspects responsible for this crime.”
“The BHPD is investigating this unacceptable act of hate and violence,” said Beverly Hills Mayor Lester Friedman. “There is no place in our City for this behavior and we ask members of the public to please come forward with any information on the suspects in this case.”
The BHPD asks that anyone with information about this crime contact them at 310-285-2125. To remain anonymous, text BEVHILLSPD followed by the tip information to 888777 or call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477. To access Crime Stoppers download the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP or use the website http://www.lacrimestoppers.org.