New York City hands over $17.5 million for mugshot controversy

 April 7, 2024

Attorney General Letitia James' (D) New York City just had to fork over $17.5 million over a mugshot controversy. 

The controversy, according to Reuters, regards the mugshots of Muslim-America women.

Such women typically wear the hijab head covering, and the controversy stems from the fact that New York Police Department (NYPD) officers made hijab-wearing Muslim-American women whom they had arrested to remove their head coverings for their mugshots.

This resulted in a massive lawsuit being filed against the city, and now the city is paying up.

The details

This is a class action lawsuit. The representatives are Jamilla Clark and Arwa Aziz - two Muslim-American women who claim to have had their rights violated in 2017, when, after being arrested for allegedly violating protective orders, officers required them to remove their hijabs for their mugshots.

"When they forced me to take off my hijab, I felt as if I were naked. I'm not sure if words can capture how exposed and violated I felt," Clark allegedly said.

Although the incident took place in 2017 - the year before James became the state attorney general - the lawsuit was not filed until 2018, when James was the attorney general.

The case has been ongoing until just recently when both sides agreed to settle.

The settlement

The total settlement is reportedly $17.5 million. But, this figure will be split up among the class members and the lawyers.

Reuters reports, "Payouts will total about $13.1 million after legal fees and costs are deducted, and could increase if enough of the more than 3,600 eligible class members submit claims. Each recipient will be paid between $7,824 and $13,125."

It is unclear how many class members have submitted claims thus far. Reuters reports that the class includes all "men and women required to remove religious attire before being photographed."

It also has to be noted that, at the time of this writing, the judge overseeing the case - U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres - has yet to approve the settlement. There is no obvious reason why Torres would not approve it, but it has yet to be made official.

A change

Since the 2017 incident, New York City has made changes to its mugshot policy. Now, those with religious headwear are allowed to keep that headwear on during their mugshots so long as the headwear does not cover their faces.

Officers are allowed to temporarily remove the headwear in order to check for contraband and weapons. But, this has to take place in a private area and the officer doing the search must have be the same sex as the person to be searched.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.