The city of New York has reached settlements with three Muslim women who filed complaints after their lawyers say they were forced to remove their hijabs following their arrests. The New York Daily News reports that the settlements were filed on Monday and total $180,000 in damages after the women say their religious freedoms were violated in the separate incidents that date as far back as 2012. In the first, a high school argument reportedly led to a Muslim teen's arrest. When she was booked, the student said she was forced to remove her hijab and have her photo taken by a male despite her objections. While the criminal case against her was later dismissed, a civil case against the city had been ongoing, BBC reports.
An attorney for the teen filed two subsequent suits in 2015 and 2016 that involved the same complaint as made by other Muslim women. In one, a woman claimed she was forced to remove her hijab at the time of her arrest following an alleged dispute with a neighbor. In the other, the woman said she was forced to remove hers while being booked and that her request for a female photographer was denied. The city announced last week that all three women have settled for $60,000 each. Separately, the NYPD in 2015 issued guidelines that stipulate that suspects in religious headwear may choose to have their photos taken privately by an officer of their same gender, with or without the headwear. In a statement, a spokesperson said the city is confident the settlements serve the "best interest of all parties involved."