“There really is no justification for taking off a person’s religious headgear,” said Powell’s attorney, Marwa Rifahie of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations.
But there is. Something could be hidden in it. A prisoner could hide a knife in a hijab and kill a police officer with it. And when that happens, the police officer will be a martyr of multiculturalism and “diversity.”
The city of Long Beach has agreed to pay $85,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed by a Muslim woman whose hijab was pulled off by a male officer while she was in police custody.
The settlement, approved Tuesday, concludes the legal battle undertaken by Kirsty Powell, an African American Muslim. Her lawsuit, filed in 2016, prompted the Long Beach Police Department to reverse its policy barring inmates from wearing religious head coverings.
“There really is no justification for taking off a person’s religious headgear,” said Powell’s attorney, Marwa Rifahie, who also works for the Greater Los Angeles Area Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The case started in May 2015 when Powell and her husband were stopped by two officers because he was driving a lowrider vehicle on Long Beach Boulevard, Rifahie said.
She provided them with her identification information. When officers ran her name through their database, they discovered she had three misdemeanor warrants for petty theft, vehicle theft and resisting arrest, police said.
Powell was not aware that a warrant had been issued for a 2002 petty theft offense, her attorney said. The other warrants were issued after Powell’s sister had falsely used her name, according to the federal lawsuit.
As officers prepared to arrest Powell, her husband requested that a female officer be called to the scene since physical contact must be done by a woman, the lawsuit contends.
The officers refused and handcuffed Powell, according to the suit. She was then told she would have to remove her hijab.
Powell told the officers “that she wears a hijab in accordance with her religious practice and that it is her legal right to wear it,” the lawsuit said.
She was driven to the Long Beach police station, where she was booked and stripped of her hijab in front of other male officers and inmates, according to the lawsuit.
Powell was detained for 24 hours without her hijab. Once she was allowed to leave, she was given a property bag containing it.
“She was held in the jail overnight, forced to sit in a cell feeling distraught, vulnerable and naked without her headscarf to everyone that passed,” the lawsuit said. “She cried throughout the ordeal and experienced humiliation when both her religious beliefs and personal integrity were violated. 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.”
Shortly after her release, Powell reached out to CAIR, the Muslim civil rights organization, to go over her options.
In April 2016, she filed the lawsuit, alleging that her 1st Amendment rights had been violated….