New York City will have to pay three Muslim women $180,000 because they had to remove their hijabs for police photos.
The New York Daily News reports that the women received the news Monday in court after filing separate civil rights suits against the city. The outcome is forcing the NYPD to strictly adhere to its policy on getting pictures of people wearing religious headgear.
The verdict was almost six years in the making, with the first case beginning in 2012 with a fight between three girls attending a Brooklyn high school. One of the girls suspected the other two were talking behind her back.
There was never any criminal prosecution, but the photos that the cops took when they investigated the fight eventually led to accusations that the girl’s civil rights had been abused.
After her first booking, one of the teens was taken to a private room where she removed her hijab and a photograph was taken by a female police office. However, at the second booking, there were no female officers on hand to take the picture and the girl was not taken to a private room for the procedure.
The resulting civil action described the girl as feeling “exposed, violated and distraught” due to the experience.
Meanwhile in March 2015, the NYPD changed its policy relating to religious headgear and photos; people were given the choice of having their picture taken privately by a female officer.
That decision prompted the girl’s lawyer, Tahanie Aboushi, to file two additional suits based on hijabs being removed.
The three cases all proceeded to trial in 2017 with successful results and $60,000 in compensation for all three.
Aboushi told the Daily News the decision was a “great first step” that came as a result of collaboration.
“We did our best to establish good precedent,” Aboushi told the Daily News.