Police in Westchester County, New York Tuesday arrested about 15 members of the Muslim community after a scuffle broke out over a ban on headscarves on some rides at Rye Playland amusement park.
Park officials blamed a “misunderstanding” that occurred when some Muslim women were asked to remove their hijabs to ride certain rides, according to MyFoxNY.com.
A statement from the Westchester County Executive’s Office claimed that two park rangers were injured “[i]n the course of restoring calm” after a disagreement broke out between some of the Muslim men and women.
But the version of events park patrons described to Patch was significantly different.
They say that police used excessive force by tackling and beating one of the women with batons as she lay on the ground. Others defending the woman were also beaten.
“I don’t give **** about your culture,” one female officer reportedly told one of the Muslim women.
Later in the day, about 50 members of the Muslim community prayed outside the gates as they waited for news about the others that had been arrested.
“Just yards away outside the park’s entrance gate, a row of Westchester County police stood in helmets and protective vests,” Patch’s Renea Henry reported. “More than 40 law enforcement vehicles, cruisers and SUVs, even canine units, from municipalities across the county, lined the entry road to the amusement park. Even more law enforcement officers blocked park access roads in all directions.”
Rye Playland is the only government-owned amusement park in the country.
Watch this video from MyFoxNY.com, broadcast Aug. 30, 2011.