BBCI: California Muslim forced to remove hijab awarded $85k settlement

Patrice Gainsbourg
Agosto 12, 2017

Kirsty Powell filed a lawsuit against Long Beach City Council after she was made to take off her headscarf following her arrest in 2015. Police originally banned inmates from wearing head scarves.

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".

Local news website ABC7 reported she had three outstanding warrants against her name, which have since been cleared.

Ms Powell had been arrested during a traffic stop in may 2015 on charges still pending.

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.

Kirsty Powell said her experience with Long Beach Police was "horrible".

The officers declined her request and told Powell to remove her hijab.

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According to Rifahie, the settlement with the city also ensured that Long Beach would not publish Powell's mugshot, taken after the hijab had been removed from her head.

"She cried throughout the ordeal and experienced humiliation when both her religious beliefs and personal integrity were violated", Powell's lawsuit says.

The Long Beach City Council voted Tuesday to approve the settlement, which includes $85,000 in damages for Kirsty Powell.

'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 lawsuit was filed in 2016 and claimed that her 1st Amendment rights were violated along with a federal law that protects the religious rights of inmates, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

She had explained she wore it as part of her religious beliefs but they still took it off.

Now, it is the police who must remove the veil of a prisoner "when it is necessary for the safety of the officer", and outside the presence of police officers or male prisoners, said Monte Machit, assistant prosecutor of the city of Long Beach, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times.

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