New York Pays Settlement for Police Asking Women to Remove Hijabs

( – New York City has agreed to pay out seventeen million dollars to settle a lawsuit that was brought on because of police who were accused of violating two Muslim women’s rights after arresting them. The women claimed that the police forced them to remove their hijabs before taking a photo of them.

The class action settlement refers to both men and women required to remove their religious attire before being photographed. The settlement was filed in Manhattan and now waits for the approval of U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres. The total payout of the settlement is about thirteen million which will equal between seven thousand and thirteen thousand dollars each. The number of recipients is around 3,600 as it applies to those asked to remove a head covering from years 2014 to 2021.

The lawsuit is from two women, Jamila Clark and Arwa Aziz who said that they felt shame when forced to remove their hijabs for their mugshots.

Clark recounted the event, saying, “When they forced me to take off my hijab, I felt as if I were naked.” She continued, “I’m not sure if words can capture how exposed and violated I felt.” Both of the women were arrested for violating orders of protection according to authorities.

The settlement agreed upon by New York said that men and women would be allowed to wear head coverings in mugshots.

According to the NYPD, “The agreement carefully balances the department’s respect for firmly held religious beliefs with the important law enforcement need to take arrest photos.” The policy is not just for Muslim hijabs but it’s also extended to other religious coverings such as yarmulkes or turbans.

The police have said that they can still search the head coverings but only in areas where they are in private with an officer of the same gender.

Albert Fox Chan, one of Clark’s lawyers, said that this “sends a powerful message that the NYPD can’t violate New Yorkers’ First Amendment rights without paying a price.”

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