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NYPD reinstates Muslim officer suspended for not shaving his beard

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A Muslim policeman who sued the New York City Police Department after he was suspended for refusing to shave his beard has been reinstated and the department has agreed to review its ban on beards, his lawyers said on Thursday.

A judge last week ordered the NYPD to continue paying Officer Masood Syed his salary and benefits after he sued the department, claiming that the no-beard policy was unconstitutional.

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“It seems like the department has taken the crucial first step in addressing an important and growing concern of officers of many different faiths,” Syed said in a statement released by his attorneys.

“I am hopeful that the department’s new policy will in fact allow myself and other officers to wear our beards at a reasonable length without the fear of retaliation or hostility,” he said.

An NYPD spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday evening.

In a letter sent to the judge and provided to news outlets by Syed’s attorneys, the city’s law department asks that a hearing scheduled for July 8 in the case be adjourned because the officer had been “restored to full duty” and the two sides were discussing a resolution of the lawsuit.

The NYPD’s written policy is that officers cannot wear beards, but an unwritten policy designed to provide religious accommodation allows for beards of up to 1 millimeter long, according to the lawsuit.

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Syed, a law clerk in the department, has worn a beard of about 1/2 to 1 inch (13 to 25 mm) for years for religious reasons.

In December, according to the lawsuit, he was told by supervisors that his beard was too long and ordered to shorten it. When he did not, he was suspended, according to the complaint.

In 2013, a Hasidic Jewish probationary officer won a lawsuit against the department over the same policy.

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U.S. District Judge Harold Baer ruled in 2013 that the policy violated the First Amendment guarantee of free religious exercise.

The Hasidic officer, Fishel Litzman, was allowed to return to work with a beard of around 1 inch, according to Syed’s lawyer.

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(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)


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Matt Gaetz forgot which network he was on: Surprised CNN anchor said ‘I’ve never been called Sean Hannity’

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Rep. Matt Gaetz seemed to confuse cable news networks during a Thursday appearance

Gaetz was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo, who aggressively challenged Gaetz on the facts as the Florida Republican attempted to defend President Donald Trump.

Despite the fact Cuomo's interview was nothing like the puff segments Gaetz is used to on Fox, the congressman seemed confused by the end.

"Congressman, you are always welcome, wherever I am, at nine or eleven, whenever," Cuomo said.

"Thanks Sean," Gaetz replied.

"Did you just call me Sean?" Cuomo asked. "Did you just call me Sean?"

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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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