Itemad Almatar, is to sue Chicago police for religious and racial profiling (Photo: Chicago.com)
A Muslim woman is to file a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department after she was cleared of reckless conduct and resisting arrest on June 29.
Surveillance footage captured by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) from July 4, 2015, shows Itemad Almatar among a group of passengers walking up stairs at a Chicago train station, when five police officers approached, two of the officers come from behind and shove her to the ground. Three more officers watch as she’s searched on the stairs.
“They threw me to the stairs, and grabbed my bags. They kicked me, hit me, took off my hijab,” Almatar said. The officers then grabbed her backpack, which was filled with food to end her Ramadan fast, she says, but never told her why.
“They asked me why I put my food inside my bag, why I’m Muslim, why I’m fasting, why I’m wearing these clothes, why I cover my body,” she told CBS Chicago.
She was then arrested and charged with reckless conduct and resisting arrest. Imam Malick Mujahid, a Muslim community leader in Chicago, said she was strip searched at the police precinct.
“At the same time men were allowed to see her naked. This is the ultimate horror you can do to a Muslim woman,” Mujahid said.
Attorney Aaron Goldstein said police violated her rights when they arrested her. “There’s a Constitution, and the Constitution says you can’t just grab people for no reason whatsoever,” Goldstein said.
Prosecutors argued in court that police officers first yelled “Stop,” but defense attorneys pointed out that video of the incident shows no one in the crowd appearing to react as if a police officer had just yelled.
A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department told CBS Chicago that it is not clear what, if any, action was taken internally.