New York City settled cases with three Muslim women who were forced to take off their hijabs in front of men while having police mug shots taken. Each woman will receive $60,000.
In 2015, the New York Police Department changed its policy for people who refuse to take off their head covering for religious reasons in front of members of the opposite sex. Arresting officers now have to give such persons the option of taking a photo in private with an officer of the same gender.
The first case occurred in 2012, when a teenager, identified only as G.E., was arrested for fighting with two other girls. The first mug shot was taken in private, but another shot at a different location could not offer that option as the camera was in a fixed position.
G.E. charged that she felt “exposed, violated and distraught” during the 20 minutes that her headscarf was off in front of male police officers and other prisoners.
The other two cases occurred after the change in rules went into effect. One woman’s head scarf was removed after she was knocked unconscious after a fight with a neighbor over a parking spot. Another woman was denied a request to have her picture taken in private by a female officer.
Commenting on the cases, a representative from the legal department of the NYPD remarked, “The resolution of these matters were in the best interest of all parties involved.”
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