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US Muslim Wins Payout After Hijab 'Forcibly Removed' by Police

12 August 2017

According to Arab News, a police officer in Long Beach forcefully removed Powell's hijab in front of other male officers and inmates. Police originally banned inmates from wearing head scarves. It was returned when her husband posted her bond, the report said.

NAIJ.com gathered that Powell was arrested during a traffic stop on outstanding warrants.

When officers went to arrest Powell, she asked them to deploy a female officer to the incident because "physical contact must be done by a woman", the lawsuit stated. Powell's husband requested a female officer handle the arrest, but the arresting officers denied the request and told Powell that she had to remove her hijab. Powell wears the hijab as part of her religious beliefs and was forced to spend the night without the covering while in custody.

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Female police officers are now required to privately search and remove hijabs worn by Muslim women if necessary.

'She felt that the male officers and male inmates had seen parts of her body that they should not have seen, according to her religious beliefs'.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced the settlement in a press release praising Powell. She then filed a lawsuit in 2016 alleging the police department had violated her First Amendment rights and the settlement was approved this week and is to be paid by the local municipal authority.

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After Powell's suit was filed, a police spokesperson confirmed that "during the booking process Powell's hijab was removed and placed into her property bag where it was secured". The act "protects individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws", according to the Department of Justice.

Assistant City Attorney, Monte Machit said, "The city made a decision to settle because we viewed the claims by her as meritorious".

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US Muslim Wins Payout After Hijab 'Forcibly Removed' by Police