The city of Long Beach has agreed to pay $85,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a Muslim woman whose hijab was pulled off by a male officer while she was in police custody.
Kirsty Powell filed her suit in 2016 and caused the Long Beach Police Department to reverse its policy barring inmates from wearing religious head coverings.
Powell says that two years ago she and her husband were stopped by two officers because he was driving a lowrider vehicle on Long Beach Boulevard.
When she handed over her ID and the police ran her information they discovered she had three misdemeanor warrants for petty theft, vehicle theft and resisting arrest.
As Powell was taken into custody, her husband requested that a female officer be called to the scene since physical contact must be done by a woman.
They refused the request then had her remove her hijab in front of other male officers and inmates at the Long Beach police station, where she was booked.
“She was held in the jail overnight, forced to sit in a cell feeling distraught, vulnerable and naked without her headscarf to everyone that passed. She cried throughout the ordeal and experienced humiliation when both her religious beliefs and personal integrity were violated. She felt that the male officers and male inmates had seen parts of her body that they should not have seen, according to her religious beliefs.”