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New York City is ordered to pay $180K to three Muslim women for forcing them to remove their hijabs for mugshots

  (Press Release) New York City will have to shell out $180,000 to three Muslim women for forcing them to take off their hijabs for mugshots. Settled in Brooklyn federal court on Monday, the suits sought to impact the NYPD’s policy for taking pictures of people wearing head coverings. Dating back to 2012, the cases start with a Brooklyn teen known as ‘G.E.’ who was arrested after a dispute with two girls. While the criminal case was dismissed, her mugshot would be the root of the problem. G.E. was taken to the 62nd Precinct, which covers Bensonhurst, Mapleton and Bath Beach. When she got there, she was instructed to remove her hijab. Refusing, the teen was then taken to a private room and a female officer took the photo away from men. When she got to Brooklyn central booking, however, she was informed that the camera was in a fixed spot and that there were no women who could take the photo. G.E. claims that a male officer took her picture, without the hijab. The teen claims to have felt ‘exposed, violated and distraught’ for having to remove her head piece for approximately 20 minutes while policemen and prisoners watched. An order was issued in March 2015 which changed the policy for people who refused to take off their headscarves. Officers now have to detail to people that the NYPD provides the choice for private photos - without the hijab - to be taken in another room with an officer of the same gender.
G.E.’s lawyer, Tahanie Aboushi, filed two other cases with women from 2015 and 2016 incidents. One woman alleges that she was forced to take off her veil at Central Booking and was denied a female officer. Another stated that her hijab was removed at the scene. ‘We did our best to establish good precedent,’ Aboushi said. ‘On the one hand, it gives officers guidance, and on the other hand, it protects the exercise of religious freedom.’
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