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

Muslim woman

The original policy stated that police could ban inmates from wearing headscarves altogether. According to a report by Instablog, male police officers forcibly removed Kirsty Powell's head covering.

NAIJ.com gathered that Powell was arrested during a traffic stop on outstanding warrants. Powell was arrested after police found a warrant under her name for a shoplifting incident, the CNN reported.

The Muslim woman who wears her hijab for religious reasons was forced to stay the night in jail feeling exposed.

According to Rifahie, the settlement with the city also ensured that Long Beach would not publish Powell's mugshot, taken after the hijab had been removed from her head.

Once officers booked her at the Long Beach police station, they removed her hijab in front of male officers and inmates.


"We commend Kirsty Powell for choosing to defend her right to religious freedom and taking action", said civil rights attorney Marwa Rifahie of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She filed a lawsuit in April 2016 and claimed the city's police violated her 1st Amendment rights and Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

The officers declined her request and told Powell to remove her hijab. While she was in custody, a police officer forcefully removed her hijab.

Under the act, "individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions" are protected "from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws", according to the Department of Justice.

Long Beach voted Tuesday to approve the settlement, CAIR said, adding that nearby communities have already adopted policies protecting religious headwear in detention following similar lawsuits. The religious head covering would then be delivered back to the inmate.

After the suit was filed, the Long Beach Police Department amended its policy to accommodate religious head coverings for persons in custody.

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