AsSalamuAlaykum, below you will find the email that was sent to two attorneys regarding my wife ( this letter is from brother Sulayman and it is not my wife but his) and the way that she was treated while in the custody of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police.
I’m sending this email to you all because on May 14th the PSA (Police Service Area) 607 will be having their monthly meeting. We are asking that we all attend this meeting in full representation of the Muslim Community. We have to show the powers that be that we have a voice and situations like this will not be tolerated. In the SE part of Washington DC you not only have more Hispanics and Caucasians but you are now seeing more Muslims and our Police Department needs to be more culturally sensitive and aware that we are all not the same and therefore shouldn’t be treated as such. Especially when they have special police units that cater to the Gay http://www.gllu.org/ and Asian, Pacific Islander Communities http://apia.dc.gov/apia/cwp/view,A,3,Q,525689.asp
The Prophet SALLALLAHOU ALAYHI WASALLAM advised us to change any situation with our hands, then with our voice, and then at least abhor it in our hearts. With this being said let’s begin to make a change in the system so that the next sister, be it you or someone else will not have to go through this same ordeal. Let them see us and let them hear how we feel about this situation.
InShaAllah please attend this meeting and if you can’t forward this request to a brother and/or sister that can. Lastly, but not least make Du’a for us and if you have any questions and/or concerns please feel free to contact me.
PSA 607 Monthly meeting
When: May 14th, 2008 @ 7:00pm
Where: Sixth District Substation
2701 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20019
Phone: (202) 698-2088
Our Concerns: See the below email
Thank you for taking the time out to read and respond to this email again contact me if you need to and please send a reply back if you plan on attending…
Mark Abdul Wali ibn-Timberlake
(202) 680-9071 mobile
The below scenario is from my (Mark Abdul Wali ibn-Timberlake) perspective on the incident that happen on Friday, May 02, 2008 at around 12:45am. Between my wife (Octavia Washington) and numerous Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officers part of the 6th District in Ward 7.
At around the time stated above my wife was pulled over by a MPD officer in front of our place of residence. Upon seeing the flashing lights I went to my window and notice it was her being confronted by the police. I admittedly went outside to see why she was being stop. The officer after a period of hesitation stated that she was being pulled over for the tinted glass on the front windows on the van. I told the officer that the car passed inspection with the windows like that; he said that that was false. My wife explained the same and he seemed to be agitated and ask for her licenses, registration, and vehicle insurance. After some time of locating these items the officer emerged from his vehicle with the light meter to test the tent he asked did we know the laws regarding tent in DC I explained to him I did. He test the windows and said that the tent was illegal he gave me the citation for the windows and said that we need to take the car through inspections in 8 days or be fined $1,000.00. After a brief conversation about that a second female officer was walking towards my wife in the car. The officer citing us asked did we know her license was suspended we both said no and explained to him that we never received anything in the mail.
At this point he began to ask my wife if she had any drugs, shoe strings, and anything that could possible hurt them in her position she stated no. upon hearing this and understanding what was about to happen I ask the officer if anything other then her being locked up could happen because our baby in the house is exclusively breast fed. He said no, I even ask if I could go in her place he again seem agitated and even annoyed at this point and ask me was I driving, I said no however our child needed to be fed. My wife asked could she feed him before she left he again replied no.
As the lady officer frisked my wife they began to motion for her head scarf (Hijab) and my wife explained to them that she wasn’t taking it off in front of him, the male officer seemed to be more angered and the female officer permitted her to keep her Hijab on (Hijab Defined: Often used to describe the head scarf or modest dress worn by women, who are required to cover everything except face and hands in the sight of anyone other than the immediate family.)
From here my wife told me about her trip to the 6th District she said that the officer was driving at high rates of speed running stop signs all without his emergency lights on. Due to the recent accidents involving emergency responders without their sirens on my wife was scared.
She said that they arrived to 6th District and the arresting officer dropped her off and left. During this time my son is now home crying because he was hungry I didn’t want to awake our other two children because our oldest daughter had school the next morning. I called my wife’s mother and asked her to come over to watch the children so that I could go to 6D to see when my wife could be released.
When I arrived to 6D a Male Officer was at the front desk and I explained to him what just happened and the fact that our baby was crying due to hunger. He said it wasn’t nothing that could be done she was the last to come in therefore she would be the last to be processed. By this he said she probably wouldn’t be released until late morning. I then ask since this is the case can my son come in here to breast feed he stated no because they had no space for that. I then asked can she go in the community room to feed him then he again replied no because they were understaffed and they would need two officers in the room with her. I then asked can I bring her breast pump to her, he said no. Now I’m kind of frustrated and I went on to say young women who have babies in prison don’t immediately have their baby taken they give that child time to wean off of its mother. He then said he knows but this isn’t prison he then said that he would go talk with his Sergeant. After awhile he returned and gave me the following option he said, she can be moved to the top of the processing list if I could pay a $500.00 bond tonight he asked how long it would take me to come up with that type of money. I told him that I had that on me now he said okay and went to the back again.
While he was in the back I could see that he was processing a few people I motioned for another officer to come to the front desk to assist me a female officer came to the desk and I explained to her what was going on and I also told her about all the work that I do in the community along with MPD and other organizations. At this point I could see in the back and I noticed my wife, I was hurt at the fact that she had no hijab on I ask why doesn’t she have her head scarf on? The female officer notice my anger and my wife screamed, “They took it from me”. The female officer asked her fellow colleagues why did they take her scarf? They said after a brief moment that it was a suicide concern when I heard this I said that she’s not going to commit suicide. They said that it’s for her safety as well as the other prisoners, the female officer told me that it was too long for her to keep I then ask what was the proper length and could they provide her with the proper head covering? The female officer couldn’t answer the question about the length and also said that they didn’t have anything she could cover with she then asked me if I had something I told her all that I had was the shirt on my back.
At this point I noticed another female officer pick up a phone and then she yelled out that Mrs. Washington (My wife) didn’t need the $500.00 and that she could be processed out. At this point instead of them giving her the head scarf while she was still in the back they brought her out front with her hair and her cleavage showing. Then at this point they returned her property. My wife was clearly hurt by this whole ordeal and she broke down crying once she got in the car with me.
All that we ask is that if anything can come out of this by the Grace of Allah it will be blessing even more so that the next sister faced in a similar predicament will not have to be degraded, disrespected and even traumatized by those who say that they are here to protect and serve. And given the chance to protect a mother and child they took the mother left the child hungry and exposed her (the mother) to treatment outside of her religious principles. I ask if she were a Catholic Nun would she still be treated the same? Not only that she said they questioned her asking was she born here and how long has she been in the county? My wife is American her family as well they came over on the same slave ships as many of our fore parents. Lastly, no one not the arresting officer or the officer’s at the district could tell us why her license was suspended.
Please call my wife to get her side of this story and also make Du’a for us and if you have any other questions and/or concerns feel free to contact us. Jazakallahu Khayran…