Long Beach has agreed to pay $85,000 (Over 27million Naira) to settle a lawsuit that accused
its police officers of stripping a Muslim woman of her hijab during an
arrest and making her spend a night in jail without it.
According to the federal lawsuit, male police officers forcibly
removed Long Beach resident Kirsty Powell’s head covering when they took
her into custody in 2015 even after she explained she wore it as part
of her religious beliefs.
The officers made her take a booking
photo without the covering and didn’t return it until she was bailed out
of jail the next day, court documents say.
throughout the ordeal and experienced humiliation when both her
religious beliefs and personal integrity were violated,” Powell’s
“She felt that the male officers and male inmates
had seen parts of her body that they should not have seen, according to
her religious beliefs.”
The Long Beach City Council voted on Tuesday to pay the settlement, which covers damages to Powell and her attorneys fees.
six months after Powell filed her lawsuit in May 2016, the Long Beach
Police Department changed its policy to generally allow inmates to wear
religious head coverings unless there’s fear they could be used to cause
some kind of harm.