Three Muslim Women Forced to Remove Hijabs for Mug Shots Snag $180G Payout from City

Andrew Keshnerm, New York Daily News, February 27, 2018

New York City will pay a total of $180,000 to three Muslim women who were forced to take off their hijabs for mug shots, the Daily News has learned.

Settlements in the three cases were filed Monday in Brooklyn federal court, with the lawsuits spurring new NYPD procedures on photographing people donning religious head coverings.

The cases date back as far as 2012, when a Brooklyn high school girl identified as “G.E.” was arrested after a scuffle with two girls she thought were spreading rumors about her.

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G.E. was taken to the 62nd Precinct, which covers such neighborhoods as Bensonhurst, Mapleton and Bath Beach, where police told her she’d have to take off her hijab.

The teen refused, and was taken to a private room where a female officer shot the photo outside the presence of any men.

But at Brooklyn central booking, police told her there weren’t any female officers to do the picture and the camera was in a fixed spot, so it couldn’t be privately taken elsewhere.

Her suit said she felt “exposed, violated and distraught” being forced to take off her headscarf for some 20 minutes as male police and prisoners watched.

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Last year, judges let parts of the three cases go ahead. All three women settled for $60,000 apiece, according to the Law Department.

In 2015 and 2016, G.E.’s lawyer, Tahanie Aboushi, filed two similar cases — both for incidents that happened after the new police rules on head coverings.

One woman said she had to remove her veil at Brooklyn Central Booking. Another said her hijab was removed at the scene of her arrest, where she was knocked unconscious in an altercation with a neighbor over a parking spot.

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A Law Department rep said “the resolution of these matters were in the best interest of all parties involved.”

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