A human rights lawyer was arrested outside a Ruby Tuesday’s in New York City as she waited for her children, who were inside using the restroom, The New York Daily News reports.
On Tuesday, Chaumtoli Huq filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court alleging that the New York Police Department officers who arrested her used “unreasonable and wholly unprovoked force” as she was waiting for family after a pro-Palestinian rally in July.
Huq had, the previous day, taken a leave of absence from her role as a top attorney with New York City’s Public Advocate’s office so she could focus on the abuse of garment workers in her home country of Bangladesh.
According to the lawsuit, police approached Huq outside of the Ruby Tuesday’s and instructed her to “move along.” She explained to the officers that her husband was escorting their children to the bathroom inside, and that she was waiting for them to return. At that point, “without any legal basis, [one officer] grabbed Ms. Huq, turned her and pushed her against the wall and placed her under arrest.”
“At that point I didn’t know what was happening. I was just thinking, ‘What’s going on?’ and all of a sudden the officer flips me [around]…he [turns] my body and presses me against the wall of the restaurant,” Huq told DNAinfo. “He shoved my left arm all the way and kept pushing it and handcuffed me. At that point I just like instinctively yelled, ‘Help!’ because I was alone. I screamed, ‘Help!'”
She was told to “shut up” when she complained that the officers were hurting her. They searched through her purse without probable cause. When they discovered that her husband does not share her last name, one of the officers — Ryan Lathrop — allegedly told her that “in America, wives take the names of their husbands.”
She was detained for nine hours. She accepted an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, which means that the charges against her will be dropped if she is not re-arrested in the near future.
Huq, a Muslim and a woman of color, believes her treatment at the hands of the NYPD is “characteristic of a pattern and practice of the NYPD in aggressive overpolicing of people of color and persons lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.”
She told The New York Daily News that she was initially reluctant to file the suit, because “my job is to be behind the scenes, and help all New Yorkers.” Eventually, she decided that bringing the lawsuit fit within the purview of that job description, as she will “raise awareness about overpolicing in communities of color” and create “a dialogue on policing and community relations.”