Muslim Woman Sues Over 'Nightmare' With Chicago Cops

Surveillance video shows Itemid Al-Matar forced to the ground
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2016 8:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Muslim woman is suing the city of Chicago and six police officers claiming they assaulted her at a train station. Itemid "Angel" Al-Matar's lawsuit, filed Thursday, claims officers grabbed her as she climbed the stairs of the downtown CTA State/Lake stop on July 4, 2015, then slammed her to the ground. A surveillance video shows five officers approach Al-Matar from behind; one grabs her left shoulder and takes her down, reports the Chicago Tribune. The officers then appear to search the 32-year-old, who was in religious garb. Her suit claims police removed her hijab and niqab, exposed her stomach, and later took photos of her in her undergarments, per NBC Chicago. The police report references a tip that she was a "lone wolf suicide bomber."

Al-Matar, who moved from Saudi Arabia in 2014, was arrested and charged with reckless conduct—a judge later dismissed that charge—and multiple counts of obstructing justice, of which she was found not guilty. A rep for Chicago's Council on American-Islamic Relations says police "should not be in the business of attempting to protect us against people who look different." Al-Matar says simply, "I don't want that nightmare to happen again." A police rep would not comment directly on the case but tells the Chicago Sun-Times that officers "work hard each day to investigate suspicious activity and fight crime" and "strive to treat all individuals with the highest levels of dignity and respect." (Read more Chicago stories.)

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