To resolve a lawsuit filed by two Muslim women who felt their rights were infringed upon during a mugshot, New York City agreed to pay $17.5 million.

To resolve a lawsuit filed by two Muslim women, who said their rights were violated when they were arrested and forced to take off their headscarves for a mugshot, New York City agreed to pay $17.5 million.

The preliminary financial settlement, announced in federal court on Friday in Manhattan, provides payouts to over 3,600 individuals. A district court judge must still approve the agreement, according to Fox News.

Jamilla Clark and Arwa Aziz filed the complaint in 2018 following their detention on suspicion of violating false protection orders. In 2017, they were apprehended in Manhattan and Brooklyn, respectively.

After deducting legal expenses, each beneficiary will get a payout ranging from $7,824 to $13,125, as per the settlement. The estimated payment is $13.1 million, but if enough of the more than 3,600 eligible class members submit their claims, it might increase.

Attorney Albert Fox Cahn represented Clark and Aziz claims that the settlement is a significant advancement for New Yorkers’ rights to privacy and religion.

Arwa Aziz and Jamilla Clark discuss their horrifying encounter.

After being made to take off the head coverings that Muslim women wear in observance of the religion, Jamilla Clark and Arwa Aziz claimed to have experienced trauma and humiliation. Their attorneys went so far as to compare pulling off the hijabs to a strip search.

In a statement given by her attorneys, Clark stated, “I felt as though I was naked when they forced me to take off my hijab.” “I’m not sure if words can capture how exposed and violated I felt.”

She continued, expressing delight in having had a significant part “in getting justice for thousands of New Yorkers.”

Cahn claims that the agreement makes it obvious that the NYPD cannot violate residents’ First Amendment rights without facing repercussions.

How did the police department in New York respond to the lawsuit?

In response to the 2020 lawsuit, the New York Police Department permitted mugshots of both genders with heads covered as long as their faces were visible.

“The NYPD saw a positive reform as a result of this settlement,” police spokesperson Nicholas Paolucci stated. “The agreement carefully balances the department’s respect for firmly held religious beliefs with the important law enforcement need to take arrest photos.”

The complaint was prompted by the fact that three Muslim women were asked to have their headscarves taken off for mug shots in 2018 and that New York City was had to reimburse them for $180,000.