Muslim woman granted $85G after suing California police for removing her hijab


"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 during the week to pay the settlement, which covers damages to Powell and her attorney's fees.

"She was held in the jail overnight, forced to sit in a cell feeling distraught, vulnerable and naked without her headscarf to everyone that passed", according to the lawsuit.

A Muslim woman in the U.S. has won $85,000 in damages from the authorities after her hijab was forcibly removed in police custody in 2016.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR) which announced the settlement on Thursday, had sued the city of Long Beach on behalf of Kirsty Powell, an African-American Muslim, "after police officers forcibly removed her hijab in view of other male officers and dozens of inmates".

"As a result of the foregoing, deprivations of the free exercise of her religion, Kirsty Powell suffered severe discomfort, humiliation, and emotional distress", it said.

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"There really is no justification for taking off a person's religious headgear", Powell's attorney, Marwa Rifahie, said.

But the lawsuit mentioned that Powell was not aware about the warrant issued against her for a 2002 petty theft offense and the other two warrants were issued after Powell's sister had falsely used her name, The Los Angeles Times reported. It was returned when her husband posted her bond. While she was in custody, a police officer forcefully removed her hijab.

After Powell's suit was filed, a police spokesperson confirmed that "during the booking process Powell's hijab was removed and placed into her property bag where it was secured".

Following the suit, the department changed its policies.

"I would never want anyone to go through what I felt from this experience", Powell said when the suit was filed past year, according to CAIR.