In the wake of a CAIR lawsuit alleging officers forcibly removed a Muslim woman’s headbag before booking her into jail, the Long Beach Police Department has changed its policy to let detainees wear Islamic supremacist headbags and other religious items while in custody unless there’s a safety concern. (How about checking to see if there is a bomb under her headbag?)
Press TelegramLuna issued the order more than six months after a Muslim woman sued the city and Luna, alleging officers violated her civil rights and humiliated her by stripping her of her headbag. The lawsuit alleges that two officers who arrested Long Beach resident Kirsty Powell forcibly removed her headbag even though she explained she wore it as part of her religious beliefs.
Until last month, Long Beach police barred prisoners from keeping any type of religious head covering with them behind bars. Department procedures listed “hats, veils, tunics, etc.,” along with items to be confiscated like cigarettes, shoelaces and belts.But last month, Long Beach police Chief Robert Luna issued an order immediately overruling that policy, according to the department.
Luna’s Nov. 8 order isn’t comprehensive. For instance, it doesn’t address whether inmates will be allowed to wear head coverings in booking photos, which is a pivotal component of the lawsuit that spurred the policy change.
In a CAIR-issued news release, Powell said the experience was horrible, and she wouldn’t want anyone else to go through it. “I want my Muslim sisters to always feel comfortable and safe wearing a hijab and to stand up for what’s right,” she said. Malak Kazan, 27 (below), claims that officers at Dearborn Heights Police Department violated her First Amendment right to religious freedom by making her remove her head scarf when booking her for traffic violation.
Powell alleged she was left uncovered in front of male officers and groups of male inmates who walked by her. Police also refused to let her take her booking photo with the headbag on, according to the lawsuit. “The existence of the photo continues to haunt Mrs. Powell,” the lawsuit states. The document says Powell felt “exposed, humiliated and violated” by Long Beach police’s actions.
“She cried throughout the ordeal and experienced humiliation whenboth her religious beliefs and personal integrity were violated,” the lawsuit says. “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.”