HAYWARD — City attorneys were unable to settle a civil rights lawsuit on Wednesday involving a Muslim businessman who says Hayward police officers made derogatory remarks about his religion. Easa Begzad, 49, a longtime Hayward candy manufacturer, traveled to U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Wednesday in an effort to reach a settlement with the city. But his lawyer, Salim Khawaja of Fremont, said more than two hours of court-mandated settlement talks failed to bring any agreement between Begzad and the city, meaning the case will likely go to trial in June. Begzad's complaint stems from an emergency call his property manager made to the police department in May 2002, according to court records. The manager told police that Begzad was acting suicidal, threatening bold acts of violence that would make the news.
Khawaja said police officers arrived at Begzad's Foley Street candy factory, which the Afghan man had decorated inside with religious posters and tapestries. "They said, 'What's this garbage?'" Khawaja said of the officers. "There were some pictures of Mecca and other religious writings, Arabic writing." Begzad claims that police falsely imprisoned him, denied him due process when they took him to a mental hospital, intentionally inflicted emotional distress and discriminated against him on the basis of his religion. The Hayward Police Department, through the city attorney's office, has flatly denied all of Begzad's allegations. The only people present in the office when police made the welfare check were Begzad, the two police officers and a woman who worked with Begzad, Khawaja said. (MORE)