Mayor Mike Spano Has Challenged Yonkers Corporation Counsel to Update Yonkers Police Department Conduct to Respect People’s Religious Rights
By HEZI ARIS

eHezi Community, Governance, Hezitorial, History, House of Worship, Islam, New York City, People 31 Comments

The Hijab Hezitorial

Yonkers Police Department Policy & Procedure Manual Regarding Removal of Detainees’ Religious Coverings Noted Below the Hezitorial


POLICY & PROCEDURE MANUAL SECTION:

Property General & Department Property

PAGE(s) 1 of 4 SUBJECT: P&P# Removal of Detainees’ Religious Coverings

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.

YONKERS, NY –  April 23, 2021 — The team of Emery Celli Brinckherhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP (ECBAWM) recently announced that it had obtained a settlement of $175,000 in a religious head covering lawsuit filed against the City of Yonkers. The head covering, known as a Hijab, is only worn by women who practice the dictates of Islam, even though there are similar practices that conform to the religious practices of those who believe and practice other faiths among different gender. The settlement  impinged on practices practiced by other women and other men of disparate beliefs. It seems incongruous, especially because a large immigrant population of Arab descent, some who practiced Islam, while others practiced Greek Orthodox Christianity, gravitated to the City of Yonkers from the 1950’s to the present, and yet their religious traditions and conduct was known by few. The lack of knowing of such specific practices may be excusable by the general public. What seems implausible to appreciate is that the Yonkers Police Department were unaware of such Constitutional rights or were dismissive of such rights. Some three generations after these immigrants chose to make Yonkers their home and place of work, and business, YPD’s lack of understanding and/or disrespect of their traditions impressed Mayor Mike Spano. So much so, that the Yonkers Tribune has learned that Mayor Mike Spano has challenged Yonkers’ Corporation Counsel to define and construct law that what be known to the populace, but most importantly by the Yonkers Police Department. While the court case loss stung to the tune of $175,000 for this one incident, Mayor Spano is concerned that every resident / citizen / visitor not suffer the shame this woman suffered when the Hijab she wore was removed from her head under the assertion that YPD had the right to do so, when in fact they did not.

Those unfamiliar with the practice of Moslem women wearing a Hijab, cannot fathom the shame and self-loathing suffered when a women is disrobed by men as she was. The horror and shame she suffered is akin to  being raped in a central square. So enormous is the shame.

The YPD’s previous policy forced arrestees to remove their religious head coverings while in custody, sometimes for no reason at all, and even when these head coverings – such as Hijabs and Turbans leave the entire face unobstructed. The lawsuit alleged that the policy violated the New York State Constitution, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

This settlement comes in the wake of another obtained by ECBAWM attorneys against the New York Police Department (NYPD), one of the largest police departments in the country, in November 2020. It is incomprehensible that every police department is not cognizant of what is happening by one if the largest city’s in the world, literally across our southern border! Why?

As a result of the suit against NYPD, the department  agreed to end its discriminatory “hijab removal” policy that mandated that suspects remove hijabs and other religious attires for mugshots. If only YPD learned from our  New York City neighbor, we would have spared the women whose Hijab was removed from her head, Yonkers taxpayers would not have lost a case valued at $175,000

The plaintiff, a practicing Muslim-American woman, is represented by ECBAWM attorneys O. Andrew F. Wilson and Emma Freeman.

Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP is a New York-based litigation boutique that focuses on civil rights, commercial, criminal, and ethics matters. The firm represent individuals, businesses, and institutions in all aspects of litigation and pre-litigation dispute resolution, from negotiation, mediation and arbitration, through hearings, trials, and appeals.

At issue now is how long Will it take for law to be defined and vetted before being adopted to thwart and mitigate similar conduct from ever happening again in the City and perhaps throughout Westchester County?

Yonkers must be thankful that Mayor Mike Spano has the sensitivity and acumen to have understood the enormous tragedy that befell Yonkers, and to engage in a legal formula.

One would expect that female Yonkers Police Officer who practice Islam could have been called to conduct the basis for the arrest respectfully. Yonkers have Islamic schools and Mosques through whom advice and guidance would have been gladly shared.

It was egregious of the arresting officers to suggest the Hijab could be removed so the YPD could take a mug shot. While YPD has the right to take the woman’s mug shot, they do not have the right to permit men to disrobe her of her headgear. YPD may have been unaware that taking the the Hijab off the woman’s head by men was inappropriate. Insiders advise further that after the Hijab was taken off to take a mug shot, the Hijab was returned, but then taken from her head again and the second time it was said that she waited for three days before it was again returned to her.

 

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YONKERS POLICE DEPARTMENT POLICY & PROCEDURE MANUAL
SECTION:

Property General & Department Property
PAGE(s)
1 of 4 SUBJECT: P&P#

Removal of Detainees’ Religious Coverings

UPDATES: DATE EFFECTIVE: New Policy 04/14/2021
180-16

PURPOSE
The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for the treatment and removal of religious head, face and body coverings belonging to detainees booked and/or detained in any Yonkers Police Department facility (including but not limited to the Detention Services Division, Community Affairs Division, and Detective Division).

POLICY
It is the policy of the Department to safeguard the rights of all individuals guaranteed by New York State law and the United States Constitution, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or sexual orientation. It is also the policy of the Department that detainees must be searched for weapons and contraband, and that booking photographs be taken of them. Members of the Department and Detention Services Division staff will take all possible steps, when consistent with personal safety and the safety of others, to respect a detainee’s privacy, rights and religious beliefs when it comes to removing their Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering. Detainees will retain their Religious Head Coverings or Religious Body Coverings while in Department custody, including, during the taking of booking photographs, except in the circumstances described below.
The implementation of this policy shall be subject to annual review by the Department’s Inspections Unit/Quality Assurance Division.

DEFINITIONS
1. Full-Face Religious Head Covering: any type of Religious Head Covering that covers the entire face.
2. Religious Body Covering: a body covering or clothing that does not cover the head or face and appears to be related to a sincerely held religious belief, or that a detainee advised is related to such. This does not include jewelry.
3. Religious Head Covering: a head covering or clothing that covers the head (and/or a portion of the face) and appears to be related to a sincerely held religious belief, or that a detainee advised is related to such.
4. Oval of the Face: for the purpose of this procedure, the oval of the face is an individual’s forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, chin and jawline.

YONKERS POLICE DEPARTMENT

POLICY AND PROCEDURE MANUAL

PROCEDURE NUMBER UPDATES DATE EFFECTIVE PAGE 180-16

New Policy 04/14/2021 2 of 4

5. Uncovered Photograph: for the purpose of this policy and procedure, a photograph taken when consistent with the safety of all parties in a Department facility with a detainee’s Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering removed, in private by a member of the same gender, when:
a. There is reasonable suspicion that the detainee has a distinguishing feature not otherwise fully visible with the head covering in place (e.g., hair color, tattoos, piercings, visible injury, moles, birth marks, etc.) that is of investigative value to the current investigation or arrest; or
b. There is reasonable suspicion that the detainee committed the crime outside their residence while not wearing a Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering.

PROCEDURE
1. In general, a Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering worn pursuant to a sincerely held religious belief shall be retained by a detainee of the Department (if not collected as evidence based on reasonable suspicion and determined not to be material to any crime or investigation), except it may be removed by the Department under the below listed circumstances.
2. The Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering must be temporarily removed when conducting the mandatory Department search for weapons and/or contraband. Where it is determined to be consistent with the safety of all parties to do so, advise the detainee that removal and search will be conducted in a private area and that the search will be conducted by a member of the same gender, outside the presence of persons of a different gender. The Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering will be returned to the detainee after that search unless, based on reasonable suspicion and articulable facts, that the Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering might:
a. Create a likelihood of physical harm to the detainee or to others; or
b. Facilitate escape.
3. Further, where consistent with the safety of all parties and as set forth below, booking photographs of a detainee wearing a Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering shall be taken with that covering on and in the presence of same-gender officers, so long as any portion of the Religious Head Covering which covers the Oval of the Face is removed.
4. The Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering of a detainee in Department custody (if not collected as evidence based on reasonable suspicion and determined not to be material to any crime or investigation) shall not be removed for a photograph or identification procedure unless:
a. There is reasonable suspicion that the detainee has a distinguishing feature not otherwise fully visible with head covering in place (e.g., hair color, tattoos, piercings, visible injury, moles, birth marks, etc.) that is of investigative value to the current investigation or arrest; or
b. There is reasonable suspicion that the detainee committed the crime outside their residence while not wearing the Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering.
5. In addition, there are also other circumstances when the Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering can be removed for purposes of photographing and conducting an identification procedure, such as a lineup identification or photo array.

YONKERS POLICE DEPARTMENT

POLICY AND PROCEDURE MANUAL
PROCEDURE NUMBER UPDATES DATE EFFECTIVE PAGE 180-16

New Policy 04/14/2021 3 of 4

6. In those circumstances where removal of a Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering is necessary, members of the Department will take all possible steps, when consistent with personal safety and the safety of others, to respect a detainee’s privacy, rights and religious beliefs.
7. In those circumstances where (1) the surrendering of a Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering is necessary pursuant this policy and procedure or, (2) an Uncovered Photograph is necessary pursuant to this policy and procedure, a Department Supervisor shall document in writing the determination that the covering be surrendered or that Uncovered Photograph be taken, indicating the reason(s) for the surrender or Uncovered Photograph, and shall maintain a duplicate separate file which contains the record of any such determination, for annual review by the Department’s Inspections Unit/Quality Assurance Division.
8. Any removal of a detainee’s Religious Head Covering, Full-Face Religious Head Covering, or Religious Body Covering shall last only as long as is reasonably necessary.
9. All Department personnel, including Detention Services Division staff members, shall conform to the following procedures when:
a. Searching a Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering for contraband and weapons, and
b. Photographing a detainee wearing a Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering.
Search of Religious Head Coverings and Religious Body Coverings for Weapons and Contraband
1. If the Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering was not (and/or need not be) collected as evidence based on reasonable suspicion and determined not to be material to any crime or investigation, Department personnel is to inform the detainee wearing a Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering that the covering must be temporarily removed and searched.
a. Where it is determined to be consistent with the safety of all parties to do so, advise the detainee that removal and search will be conducted in a private area and that the search will be conducted by a member of the same gender, outside the presence of persons of a different gender.
b. Perform a thorough search for weapons and contraband.
c. Do not retain the Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering for safekeeping unless there is a determination made, in consultation with a Supervisor, based on reasonable suspicion and articulable facts, that the Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering:
i. Might create a likelihood of physical harm to the detainee or to others; or
ii. Might facilitate escape.
d. In either of the two scenarios in which a detainee is required to surrender a Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering after a search, the surrendering of that covering shall be only as long as it reasonably necessary.
e. A Supervisor shall document in writing any determination that a Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering must be surrendered, indicating the reason(s) for the surrender

YONKERS POLICE DEPARTMENT

POLICY AND PROCEDURE MANUAL PROCEDURE NUMBER UPDATES DATE EFFECTIVE PAGE 180-16

New Policy 04/14/2021 4 of 4

and maintain a duplicate separate file for any such determination, to be subject to annual review by the Department’s Inspections Unit/Quality Assurance Division.
Photographing of Detainees with Religious Head Coverings and Religious Body Coverings
1. Take photographs of the detainee with the Religious Head Covering or Religious Body Covering in place.
a. Ensure that the Oval of the Face (forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, chin and jawline) are visible in the photograph.
i. Religious Head Coverings, including Full-Face Religious Head Coverings, that obscure the Oval of the Face shall be moved to expose the Oval of the Face.
ii. Where consistent with the safety of all parties, the exposure and photography will be conducted in a private area and that the photograph will be conducted by a member of the same gender, outside the presence of persons of a different gender.
2. An Uncovered Photograph will NOT be taken unless:
a. There is reasonable suspicion that the detainee has a distinguishing feature not otherwise
fully visible with head covering in place (e.g., hair color, tattoos, piercings, visible injury, moles, birth marks, etc.) that is of investigative value to the current investigation or arrest; or
b. There is reasonable suspicion that the detainee committed the crime outside their residence while not wearing a Religious Head Covering.
3. A Supervisor shall document in writing the taking of all Uncovered Photographs, indicating the reason(s) for the Uncovered Photograph, and maintain a duplicate separate file for any such determination, to be subject to annual review by the Department’s Inspections Unit/Quality Assurance Division.

Related Procedures
140-3 Arrest Policy
YONKERS POLICE DEPARTMENT

eHeziMayor Mike Spano Has Challenged Yonkers Corporation Counsel to Update Yonkers Police Department Conduct to Respect People’s Religious Rights
By HEZI ARIS

Comments 31

  1. Don’t let your wife go through this Mikey Khader. Just resign. I’m coming to town soon. You know who I am Mikey and Yonkers will know as well as your wife very soon. Gig is up.

  2. When I was in Dubai they made it absolutely clear no public displays of affection or intoxication and absolutely no non Islamic religious material. I was given a stern lecture by our Egyptian tour guide not to stare at the women despite the fact that they’re covered from head to toe because that could get them killed by their husbands for somehow eliciting the attention and this is a western friendly country. We just missed the Islamist massacre at the mall in Nairobi afterwards.
    These people are living in the 7 th century and forcing us to do so as well here and in Europe. Again any Christian Arabs care to comment?

  3. I’m still here Michael Khader and about to tell the world. Sleep well my dear friend. I won’t break my silence till 2 weeks out from the election. One thing is for sure, wife will be so happy with you.

    Love Karen

    1. Karen….if you want any legitimacy you should get another handle, lol!

      “Karen” is a pejorative term for a woman seeming to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is normal. The term also refers to memes depicting White women who use their privilege to demand their own way.

      1. Karen, you should just come forward now. Let him try to explain himself for the next two months. He won’t be able to – he can barely get a complete sentence out as is

  4. One poster states: “It’s clear that Khader is unfit for public office.” That statement applies to every single person holding office in Yonkers City Hall. The Mayor and every member of the City council are just a collection of self-serving, morally and ethically bankrupt, phony hacks. If you’re asking Mike Khader to be embarrassed, forget it. None of them are capable of this. To feel a sense of embarrassment requires that one recognize that their behavior is shameful. No reason to think that will ever happen here.

    1. Rubbo is another morally and ethically bankrupt politician. He’s a turncoat, coward, liar and a cheat. Changed from Republican to Dem when he realized he needed the votes, voted for the illegal 3rd term for the Mayor and himself. Cheats on his petitions, too bad he wasn’t challenged. Lies to seniors and is a coward not to have an open, transparent meeting concerning ongoing issues with Bernice Spreckman Center? He has misused and abused his office, using city vehicle and parking battalion for private use and campaign purposes. Promoting his Brewery and not recusing himself from legislation that provides indirect benefit. Also, 4th district is a mess with garbage and potholes. Now he’s trying in a last-ditch effort to get a few garbage cans back, and keeps talking about fixing up Yonkers Ave with street-scaping….because he has an upcoming election.

      Heard he has one remaining opponent, a little-know guy, but kudos to him, thankfully someone is still standing against the Yonkers swamp.

      Rubbo, What have you done for us these last 4 years??? So many broken promises from him and others in CC!

      1. At the primary, VOTE for the only opponent against Rubbo. He’s got to be better than this loser!

        If Rubbo wins the primary, at the General Election, Do a write-in on the ballot against Rubbo… make it Mr Ed, horse face. Mr Ed might get more votes and support.

        A heated-race is predicted…Mr Ed is an old thoroughbred and intelligent. Rubbo is two-legged with a blind side to his constituents and a host of other disadvantages, plus he’s allergic to hay, lol!!!.

        The race is on…. Mr Ed and Rubbo are neck in neck in the race, around the bend, approaching the down stretch at Yonkers Raceway , lol! Neither deserve the finish line.

        Now, Rubbo what have you done for Yonkers! All bets are in…. Zero!

    2. John Rubbo is very insecure, he doesn’t know where he stands. Republican, fake Democrat. Meanwhile most of his constituents are disgusted with him! Traitor!!! Give back the money in your campaign account you got when you first ran from all the Republicans. It’s now illegitimate funding in your bankroll! You are a farse and a fake!

  5. It’s clear khader is unfit to be in public office. I hope he steps down soon before him embarrasses his family and community.

    1. Jose Alvarado is that the same guy who was appointed the Yonkers City Clerk but was working at White Plains Hospital when he was supposed to be working in Yonkers? Sounds like Theft of Service and Grand Larceny for starters-yet this is Yonkers where many people are corrupt and white collar crooks and nobody ever gets popped.

  6. Here’s a crazy idea-if you don’t want your religious garb removed by the police for your mugshot, don’t break the law. And, if you don’t want to get shot by a police officer, all you need to do is obey his or her commands and you’ll be just fine.

  7. This incident reveals the deficiencies of the training among police officers. A quick poll of cops in random agencies within Westchester will perhaps reveal that each would ‘still’ treat this matter the way YPD did.
    Spano stepped up, yes to amend the “written directives” but the training beyond just the religious headdress is critical. Eg. if there are houses of worship in the community, are they trained as to how they are to conduct themselves when interacting within these premises?
    The office of the top cop, WCDA and the WC dept of public safety (which runs the academy), should be using resources now to incorporate universal training across all Westchester LEAgencies instead of each agency doing their own thing after the fact.
    What’s on paper is often not reflective in the one hour training called, “Sensitivity” training.
    Community-religious leaders partnered with Training Personnel would do a fabulous job at this. That’s how you build community relations, through mutual respect, participation, voice….
    The outcome is a teachable moment in CJ reform

    1. You have all of the politically correct answers but none of the reality based answers. I defer to the Christian Arabs reading this. Do Muslim nations (that you left) worry about offending Christians? We had a Christian Holocaust led by ISIS enabled by Obama and stopped by Trump that was all but ignored by the world media where thousands of Christian men were butchered and Christian women and children were forced into sexual slavery. Again remind me why the Arabs Christian and Muslim in Yonkers are here and not there. While the Yonkers Police Department is not without its problems you can’t compare it to the religious police in Islamist countries and on the 40th anniversary of the Irish☘️ Hunger Strikers Yonkers PD could never be as abusive as the Royal Ulster Constabulary was in Northern Ireland. If I immigrated to Jordan I would expect to have to comply with their ordinances regardless of my personal religious affiliation ESPECIALLY if I were in some sort of legal trouble or under investigation as Jordan is an Islamic county.

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