FERNDALE, Mich. – There are new allegations against the Ferndale Police Department after the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said officers forced a Muslim woman to remove her hijab for a booking photo.
Attorneys claim the department mistreated Helena Bowe, who was pulled over on Eight Mile Road in June.
“This whole incident has left me traumatized,“ Bowe said. “Even if the incident isn’t happening anymore, and I’m not there, I can still see myself going through it over and over again.”
Bowe’s attorneys claim police pulled her over for an expired tag, although she provided the necessary documents.
“The problems really started when she entered the Ferndale Police Department. There was a female sergeant there, who notified the officer on duty that our client had a constitutional right to wear her religious head covering,” said CAIR Staff Attorney Amy Doukoure.
During the booking process, Bowe claims she was searched by a male guard and forced to take her booking photo without wearing her Hijab.
“The city of Ferndale has created a permanent public record of our client in a manner that violates her religious beliefs,” said Doukoure.
CAIR Michigan announced a Civil Rights Action against the city of Ferndale and the police department. CAIR claims Ferndale Police target minorities.
“The city of Ferndale is 88% white, Only 6% Black. Our client is Muslim but she’s also Black. Fifty percent of traffic violations are Black people, even though Black people only make up 6% of the population,” said CAIR Michigan Executive Director Dawud Walid.
Read Ferndale’s statement below: