Press Releases

CAIR-Chicago to Announce Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Chicago Police

CAIR logoFemale Muslim Student Faced Harrowing Abuse by Members of the Police

(CHICAGO, IL, 8/10/16) – On Thursday, August 11, the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) will hold a noon news conference 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 on behalf of female Muslim student Itemid Al-Matar (also known as “Angel”).

On July 4, 2015, Angel, a young Muslim woman trying to catch the train home, was physically assaulted, harassed, publicly strip-searched, humiliated, and falsely arrested by several police officers from the Chicago Police Department.

SEE: CTA Video Showing Parts of the Incident

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: Tomorrow, 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

“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 unwarranted and excessive force on the grounds of blatant xenophobia, Islamophobia, and racial profiling,” said Phil Robertson, CAIR-Chicago Litigation Director.

Background on Case:

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 publicly 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.

The Chicago Police Department is currently under federal investigation by the Department of Justice.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, 312-212-1520, 202-870-0166, arehab@cair.com; CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Hoda Katebi, 312-212-1520, 405-413-1222, hkatebi@cair.com

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