Lawsuit claiming Dearborn police forced woman to remove hijab, dropped

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A Muslim woman is dropping her 2015 federal lawsuit against Dearborn police, she claimed that officers forced her to remove her religious head scarf.

But Dearborn police said she made it all up and they've got the evidence to prove it.

The suit accusing police of forcing a Muslim woman to remove her headscarf when arrested in 2014 is now being called "false."

"To see such a statement, it's not accurate," said Shereef Akeel, the woman's attorney. "And it was most unfortunate."

Akeel says Wednesday that the lawsuit was withdrawn March 10, because his client learned Dearborn police changed its policy.

"The objective of the case was achieved, so it was a success," he said.

Akeel says when the incident happened in September of 2014, a lawsuit had been discussed, then filed in June of 2015.

"The old policy said 'Head covering is required to be removed for safety reasons,'" Akeel said. "That was the excuse they used to give.

"The new policy after my client got arrested after we brought this into light, has now changed and says 'they can wear their own personal head covering during the booking photos.'

"This is a monumental success."

Akeel says the policy had been changed back in January of 2015.

"Just three weeks ago they disclosed this to us for the first time, of this policy change that they changed a year ago," he said.

"They kept it secret... Result of the lawsuit."

The city and police not responding to requests for comment Wednesday, but released a statement saying an internal investigation revealed "no wrongdoing."

"If a woman was coerced into removing a hijab, it should not take a year and a half investigation," said Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab-American News.

Stating video proof, her attorney did not release the video for religious reasons.

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said  "We knew this lawsuit had no merit and are glad that the people we serve can have confidence that our officers acted properly in this case."

"That's not accurate," Akeel said. "Here is the result, we have a new policy."

Akeel says at the end of the day, that's all that matters.

"This new policy by the city of Dearborn, other police department should look at it," Akeel said. "Other departments should use this as a role model - without the need of another lawsuit."

Akeel said that when he spoke to his client she was happy and satisfied at the new policy, saying that was all she wanted.