Associated Press, The Guardian, December 17, 2019
A Minnesota Muslim woman has received $120,000 to settle her lawsuit alleging she was forced to strip in jail and remove her hijab for a booking photo over a traffic offense, the woman and her attorneys said Tuesday.
Aida Shyef Al-Kadi appeared with her attorneys at the Minneapolis headquarters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to announce the settlement approved last month.
She said, she was told to remove her hijab and abaya, a long dress that covered her body, in front of male jailers. When she objected, she said, she was removed from the area and taken to a holding cell, where she removed her hijab in front of a male jailer.
She said she agreed to remove her headscarf for her booking photo after being told that the photo would never be released to the public. But months later, she found it on a third-party website that charges users to take down the photos.
After taking the photo, officers gave her a bedsheet to use as a hijab. Al-Kadi eventually was told to remove her abaya and change into a jail uniform, while two female officers watched her. Ramsey county policy says that misdemeanor inmates such as Al-Kadi “will not be viewed without clothing”, according to court records.
Under the settlement, the jail has put in place specific rules about how to accommodate inmates with religious headwear when taking booking photos.
The settlement does not require the county to admit wrongdoing.