Hijab Mug Shot Scandal Just Cost New York $17.5 Million

(NewsReady.com) – New York taxpayers, already crushed by the burden of looking after tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, have just suffered another blow. The city has been hit with a massive compensation bill after cops ordered two Muslim women to take off their hijabs to be photographed. Thousands of women are expected to get payouts.

In 2017, New Yorker Jamilla Clark was arrested for breaching a protection order. Taken to the NYPD’s One Police Plaza for processing, she was told to remove her hijab so she could be photographed. Eight months later, Arwa Aziz was also arrested for breaching a protective order, and booked at a Brooklyn police station. Like Clark, she was ordered to remove her hijab to be photographed. In 2018, the pair, assisted by Muslim nonprofit Turning Point for Women and Families, filed a lawsuit against the City of New York, claiming they had suffered “trauma and anguish” at being forced to show their hair in front of men they weren’t related to. Clark claims she felt “naked.”

The NYPD changed its policy on photographing women who wear religious headdresses in 2020. Now, they don’t have to remove their hijab unless it obscures their faces. Clark and Aziz pushed ahead with their lawsuit, however, and on April 5, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the department to pay a $17.5 million settlement. Thousands of women are expected to be able to file a claim. A website set up to cover the case says they could get between $7,824 and $13,125 each.

As part of the settlement, the department will update its patrol guide, telling officers to “take all possible steps, when consistent with personal safety,” to make sure detainees don’t need to remove religious headdresses. If they need to, photographs should be taken in a private area by an officer of the same gender. Meanwhile, New York taxpayers will be handing over millions of dollars in compensation.

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