Long Beach agrees to $85,000 settlement over Muslim woman's hijab removal by police

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Friday, August 11, 2017

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Long Beach has agreed to an $85,000 settlement of a lawsuit by a Muslim woman who had her hijab removed by a police officer when she was arrested.

Kirsty Powell was pulled over for a traffic stop while driving with her husband in 2015. Officers determined she had three outstanding warrants and took her into custody.

During the arrest, Powell says a male officer forced her to remove her hijab, or headscarf, which she wears as part of her Muslim beliefs.

She said she requested for a female officer to search her and to continue wearing her hijab while in custody, and both requests were denied.

Powell later filed a civil rights complaint against the city.

In November 2016, the Long Beach Police Department amended its policy to allow an arrested person to wear a religious head covering except when safety concerns may be involved.

Now the Long Beach City Council has agreed to a settlement of Powell's suit.

The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced the settlement.

"I would never want anyone to go through what I felt from this experience," Powell said at the time the suit was filed. "I want my Muslim sisters to always feel comfortable and safe wearing a hijab and to stand up for what's right."