On July 4th of 2015, a Muslim woman was tackled to the ground by five Chicago police officers on the stairs of a subway station, according to The Washington Post. Her hijab (traditional headscarf) was ripped off, she was handcuffed and placed under arrest, then taken to jail. While she was being tackled and handcuffed, her shirt was pulled up and her pants were pulled down, exposing her midriff. This violent act was particularly embarrassing and humiliating to the victim because of her traditional Muslim upbringing.
Later, at the police station she was ordered to strip naked by a female officer and then put in a cell with the door open, while male officers looked in and laughed, according to the lawsuit. The victim, a 32-year-old student from Saudi Arabia, and a Chicago resident, was making her way home at the time of her arrest. She was charged with resisting arrest and reckless behavior. Clear surveillance footage shows her calmly walking up the stairs of the subway station with dozens of other passengers before she is tackled by the five officers. Both charges were later dropped.
Lawsuit Filed in August of 2016 Against Chicago Police Department and Six Officers
A federal lawsuit was filed this summer of 2016, claiming that the officers had acted with prejudice and malice. The lawsuit states that she “has suffered violations of her constitutional rights, emotional anxiety, fear, humiliation, monetary loss, embarrassment, fear, pain and suffering and future pain and suffering.” Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that she was the victim of false rarest, unlawful search, excessive force, malic prosecution, and that her rights to freedom of religious expression under the First and Fourth amendments were also violated. The police claim that they arrested her because they suspected she was a suicide bomber, because of the way she was dressed.
Hate Crimes Surge Through 2015 and Beyond
According to data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), hate crimes against Muslims increased by 67 percent in 2015, as reported by Mother Jones. FBI data reveals that there were 5,858 hate crimes in total for 2015, though that number is highly inaccurate. The FBI’s data on hate crimes is given by local, county, and state law enforcement agencies, and only data that is given at will is used in the FBI’s report. The Department of Justice (DOJ), on the other hand, estimated that there were 260,000 hate crimes in 2013. 92 percent of those hate crimes involved violence, according to the DOJ’s data, while the FBI reports that just 44 percent of hate crimes involved violence. Obviously, more accurate reporting is needed by local law enforcement agencies. Most hate crimes that get reported to the police never make their way into the FBI’s report, meaning that the extent of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and other intolerances are not clearly seen by the federal government.
Contact a Chicago Attorney Today
If you have been the victim of a civil rights violation or police misconduct, contact the Chicago civil rights attorneys of Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance.