A Muslim cop is fighting the NYPD’s “discriminatory” decision to suspend him for refusing to shave his beard. Masood Syed, a 10-year NYPD veteran and lawyer who works as a law clerk for the department, was told by his bosses that he had to shave his beard, which he wears between one-half and one-inch in observance of his Sunni Muslim faith.
NY Daily News While the NYPD maintains a “no beard” policy, facial hair up to 1 millimeter (about four-hundredths of an inch) is the unofficial exception for religious purposes, Syed’s lawyers said in a civil complaint filed in Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday.
Syed, of Whitestone, Queens, previously obtained permission to wear his beard at 1 millimeter and never had a serious problem with his facial hair exceeding that measure until fall 2015.
Since then, Syed has been working to get a religious accommodation letter allowing him to wear his beard at its present length, the lawsuit said. He also claimed many other officers wear beards exceeding 1 millimeter.
The 32-year-old was nevertheless suspended without pay for 30 days and could be fired if he continues refusing to shave his beard, says the suit.
Syed was stripped of his badge and gun and then escorted out of Police Headquarters by two supervising officers, he said. “It was extremely humiliating,” he said after the hearing. “I felt insulted.” (Good, find another job)
Fleming argued the NYPD does not allow beards to exceed a millimeter because it would prevent department-issued gas masks from sealing properly.
Syed has faced scrutiny for issues other than his beard. The city in 2010 paid a $250,000 settlement to a panhandler whose cheekbone was broken during a January 2009 altercation with Syed. The cop was also placed on modified duty and lost 20 vacation days in August 2014 for having his gun stolen out of a backpack in his car, a police source said.