Woman sues Michigan cops who made her take off hijab
The lawsuit claims that the woman's First Amendment right to freedom of religious expression was violated. (Shutterstock)
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A Muslim woman is suing a police department in Michigan for making her remove an Islamic head scarf for a booking photo, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.
Malak Kazan, 27, was arrested last year by officers from the Dearborn Heights Police Department after a traffic stop indicated she was driving on a suspended license.
According to the lawsuit filed in a Detroit federal court, an officer taking Kazan's booking photograph made her remove her hijab, a type of head scarf worn by Muslim women to cover the hair and neck.
Kazan said it was against her religion to expose those parts in the presence of males not from her immediate family, and she asked for a female officer to take the photo, but the request was denied.
"We don't always have enough female officers present in the station," Dearborn Heights Police Chief Lee Gavin told WJBK. He said hats and other head coverings "can contain concealable items that could pose a threat or chance of injury to the cops or to themselves," but Kazan's attorney, Amir Makled, scoffed at the suggestion, saying her client was "only doing a booking photograph."
Aimed at Gavin, the city of Dearborn Heights and the Dearborn Heights Police Department, the lawsuit alleges that Kazan's First Amendment right to freedom of religious expression was violated, as was her Fourth and 14th Amendment rights.
It also includes a request to modify the Dearborn Heights police's policy regarding the wearing of Muslim head scarfs during booking photos.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko did not respond to calls and messages from reporters seeking comment about the case.
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