A Muslim woman was awarded $85,000 after her Islamic headbag was forcibly removed by a Long Beach police officer after she refused to remove it herself as required while she was in custody. Designated terrorist group (CAIR) which announced the settlement, had sued the city of Long Beach on behalf of Kirsty Powell, “after police officers forcibly removed her headbag in view of other male officers and dozens of inmates.” (Oh, NOES! Other men…gasp)
LA Times Powell was “forced to spend the entire night exposed in custody and described the experience as deeply traumatizing,” the rights group said. Powell was arrested during a traffic stop in May 2015 on outstanding warrants.
“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 Hamas-linked CAIR (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.
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’s notorious litigation jihadist team which is very good at shaking down institutions.
In the months after the suit was filed, the Police Department overhauled its policy to allow inmates to wear their religious head coverings after they have been searched. Female officers are now required to remove a female inmate’s headscarf, “when necessary for officer safety,” outside the presence of male officers and inmates, said Monte Machit, Long Beach assistant city attorney.
“In our view, the removal of the hijab by a male officer, in the presence of other males, while consistent with the then-existing Long Beach Police Department policy, may have violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act,” Machit said. “The 9thCircuit [Court] has not specifically weighed in on whether removing the hijab actually violated [the law], but we believed that the existing policy was not consistent with the Act.”