Three Muslim women forced to remove hijabs for mug shots snag $180G payout from city
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.
The criminal case was dismissed, but it was the initial mug shots that mattered in the civil rights case that followed.
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.
G.E. said a male officer took her picture without her hijab.
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.
Court rulings show in March 2015, police issued an order that changed the rules when people refused to take off religious head coverings. Arresting officers had to tell the person they had the choice of getting a private photo — without the head covering, and with an officer of the same gender.
“On the one hand, it gives officers guidance, and on the other hand, it protects the exercise of religious freedom,” Aboushi said.