A Muslim officer with the New York City Police Department alleges in a lawsuit filed Thursday that her colleagues harassed, threatened and even physically attacked her because of her religion.
Officer Danielle Alamrani is seeking unspecified damages from the city of New York, the NYPD and several named officers, according to the suit, which NBC News published in full.
Alamrani joined the department in 2006 and converted to Islam the next year, the suit states. She says she did not have any problems with her co-workers until she began wearing a hijab at work in 2008. Over the next few years, the suit states, her colleagues engaged in daily verbal abuse, including calling her names like “terrorist” and “Taliban” and telling her she shouldn’t be a police officer. Alamrani says she reported the harassment but that the NYPD didn’t take any action.
She alleges that two defendants named in the suit, Josephine Barone-Baur and Leanna Brown, physically attacked her, called her “Muslim bitch” and attempted to rip off her hijab in 2012. Brown and Barone-Baur were merely moved to work a different shift from Alamrani after the department conducted an investigation, according to the suit.
The suit says the harassment continued to escalate until 2014, when Alamrani says an officer responded to a noise complaint at her residence by detaining her and her children for eight hours, apparently just for the purpose of harassing her. A co-worker allegedly posted online a photo of Alamrani at a gun range, which she visited for work-related reason, the following year ― and numerous other co-workers responded with malicious comments, including calling her a “fucking disgrace” and a “moving target.”
Alamrani also alleges that she was repeatedly given undesirable shifts or had her duties unfairly limited, like getting moved off patrol duty, because of her religion or the fact that she wore a hijab.
She responded to the years of alleged abuse in 2015 by retiring early, although she joined the force again a few months later in a new precinct.
Alamrani’s attorney, Jesse Rose, told the New York Daily News that the NYPD had chosen to treat his client poorly rather than improve community relations.
“The NYPD had the opportunity to show that the people who police us look like the community they police,” Rose said. “Instead, they put her to the side and changed her assignment so she was not visible to the public.”
A spokesman for the New York City Law Department told The Huffington Post that it would review the complaint.
In recognition the growing amount of harassment and discrimination that Muslims — or people perceived to be Muslim — face in the workplace, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission last year issued guidelines for employers. The commission noted that it started seeing a major uptick in discrimination charges involving Muslims in the months immediately following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“While the number of charges directly related to 9/11 has dwindled, the Commission continues to see an increase in charges involving religious discrimination against Muslims and alleging national origin discrimination against Muslims or those with a Middle Eastern background,” the EEOC wrote.
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