Natalie Allison, USA Today, May 8, 2018
Once lauded for being Nashville’s first Kurdish police officer, a former Metro cop was arrested Tuesday after being indicted on more than 50 counts of official misconduct and is accused of being active in the drug-peddling Kurdish Pride Gang.
Jiyayi Ahmet Suleyman, 29, was booked into the Davidson County jail on a $75,000 bond.
On April 27, a Davidson County grand jury returned indictments charging Suleyman with 57 counts of official misconduct following an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation related to allegations of misuse of governmental records.
Suleyman resigned from his position with the department March 30 in the midst of an internal investigation, which determined he had violated multiple department policies, including those pertaining to the security of department operations, associations with criminals, and honesty and truthfulness.
He is accused of using the state’s criminal justice portal system to conduct queries on members of the Kurdish Pride Gang despite having no active cases involving those individuals.
In defense of Nashville welcoming immigrants, Suleyman early last year was hailed by former Mayor Megan Barry for being the first American Kurd hired by Metro police.
In internal investigation files from Metro police, department officials note that Suleyman’s possible ties with the Kurdish Pride Gang came to their attention while investigating House of Kabob. Investigators reported that multiple employees and others who frequented the restaurant on Thompson Lane were involved with the sale of illegal firearms and narcotics.
In addition, they found records of frequent phone calls by Suleyman to known KPG members, and determined Suleyman “had knowledge of the day to day operations” of members involved in the sales of drugs and weapons, according to police documents.
“By the standards of the Metropolitan Police Department, Det. Jiyayi A. Suleyman would be considered a confirmed gang member,” an internal investigator wrote in his file.
When hired, Suleyman failed to disclose any possible ties with the gang.
As part of his work for the department, as evidenced by letters from Chief Steve Anderson commending Suleyman for his drug investigations, Suleyman was involved late last year in the interdiction of a Mexican heroin distribution ring, among other narcotics offenses.
In his resignation letter in March, Suleyman wrote that he was “grateful for the rewarding employment” he had with Metro police, but had “decided to start a new career.”