March 6, 2010 in Nation/World

Muslim group files arrest complaint

Men were praying in parking lot
Raja Abdulrahim Los Angeles Times
 

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles Muslim civil rights organization has filed a misconduct complaint and requested an internal investigation of police in Henderson, Nev., after seven Southern California Muslim men were detained and questioned for praying in a parking lot.

The men were driving through Henderson on Dec. 20 when they stopped for food and gas at a shopping center, according to the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

While stopped, the men prayed next to their vehicle. Two patrol officers soon arrived – followed by a police sergeant, according to a Henderson police spokesman.

“We got a call from a citizen saying that seven suspicious males (were) in a parking lot engaging in suspicious behavior,” said Officer Todd Rasmussen, a department spokesman.

The officers did a cursory search of the men’s vehicle and questioned them about their jobs, schooling and places of birth for more than half an hour, according to the complaint filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“The scope and length of the stop was not reasonable under the circumstances, nor did it serve any legitimate investigative purpose,” Ameena Qazi, a staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, wrote to Henderson police Chief Jutta Chambers.


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