Three Muslim Women Receive $60,000 Each After Being Forced to Remove Hijab for Police Mugshots

Muslim woman
A Muslim woman walks along Coney Island Avenue on October 18, 2017 in New York City Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City will pay three Muslim women a total of $180,000 after they were forced to remove their hijabs while having police mugshots taken.

The lawsuits were settled in Brooklyn federal court with each of the women receiving $60,000 each, according to the New York Daily News.

The first case dates back to 2012 when a teenage girl—identified only as "G.E"—was arrested after getting into a fight with two other Brooklyn school girls she believed were spreading rumours about her.

When G.E was taken to a local police station, she was told she must remove her hijab before her photo could be taken. After she refused, the teenager was taken into a private room where a female officer took the mugshot without any men present.

However, when she was taken to Brooklyn Central Booking, the girl was told there weren't any female officers around to take the mugshot and that the camera had to remain in its fixed location, not moved to a private room.

The teenager claimed she felt "exposed, violated and distraught" after being made to remove her hijab for around 20 minutes in the company of other men, the Daily News reports.

In March 2015, NYPD changed their policies regarding religious head gear, meaning people were informed they had the choice to get their photo taken in a private room with an officer of the same gender, court rulings show.

Two other similar cases in 2015 and 2016 where then filed by G.E's lawyer, Tahanie Aboushi, after the new rules were out in place.

One woman claimed she was also forced to remove her hijab at Brooklyn Central Booking, with another saying hers was removed at the scene of her arrest after she was knocked unconscious following a fight with her neighbour over a parking spot. She was also denied a request for a female photographer at Brooklyn Central Booking.

Aboushi informed the Daily News that all three women settled in the cases, resulting in them receiving $60,000 each. The NYPD were also sent additional guidelines on religious head gear in December 2017.

Aboushi said described the result as a "great first step." She added: "We did our best to establish good precedent. On the one hand, it gives officers guidance, and on the other hand, it protects the exercise of religious freedom."

A Law Department spokesperson said the "resolution of these matters were in the best interest of all parties involved."