MEDIA ADVISORY: CAIR-Chicago Announces Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Members of Chicago Police
(CHICAGO, IL, 8/11/16) - On July 4th, 2015 Itemid Al-Matar (known as "Angel"), a young Muslim woman trying to catch the train home, was physically assaulted, harassed, publically strip-searched, humiliated, and falsely arrested by several police officers from the Chicago Police Department.
CAIR-Chicago will be hosting a press conference tomorrow at noon to announce the filing of a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department for the use of excessive force, false arrest, violation of freedom of religious expression, and malicious prosecution, among other counts. Angel is represented by co-counsels, Gregory E. Kulis & Associates Ltd., and CAIR-Chicago.
WHAT: Press Conference announcing Angel's Federal Civil Rights lawsuit WHEN: Thursday, August 11, 2016 at 12:00pm CST WHO: CAIR-Chicago, Gregory E. Kulis & Associates Ltd., and Itemid Al-Matar WHERE: CAIR-Chicago, 17 N. State Street, Suite 1500, Chicago IL, 60602
The incident took place during Ramadan, in which Angel was walking up the stairs at the CTA State/Lake red line trying to catch the train to go home to break her fast by sunset. Unprovoked, unannounced, and without cause, several officers raced behind her, grabbed her from the stairs and threw her to the stair landing. They violently ripped off her religious head garment, verbally taunted her, and publically stripped her to her underwear while she remained handcuffed on the ground. She was taken to a police car and then was transferred to a jail cell for the rest of the night. She was charged with multiple criminal charges (of which she was later found not guilty) including resisting arrest and reckless misconduct, in order to cover up their unlawful use of violence.
"This unprovoked violence and unlawful behavior by members of Chicago Police Department comes at a time of both heightened Islamophobia and a continued history of institutionalized police violence and malicious prosecution based on race, religion, or other identity-based factors," said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab. "That someone would be subjected to this wanton abuse is intolerable. Policing can and should function effectively within the perimeters of our civil rights laws, and the standards of public service sworn to under oath."
"More than being unacceptable and abhorrent, CPD violence towards Angel is unconstitutional, uncivil, and unlawful. Angel has suffered physical, emotional, and mental distress due to excessive force on the grounds of blatant xenophobia, Islamophobia, and racial profiling," said Phil Robertson, CAIR-Chicago Litigation Director.
The Chicago Police Department is currently under federal investigation by the Department of Justice.