Iraqi-American sues Chicago police for excessive force, alleged hate crime

Walsm Rashan says police officers brought him to Area Central in May and searched his anal cavity for drugs.
November 22, 2013 6:10:05 PM PST
ABC7 Eyewitness News had an exclusive interview with an Iraqi- American man accusing the Chicago Police Department of excessive force and a hate crime. Wasim Rashan's attorney says his client was essentially raped by officers.

Six Chicago police officers are named in this federal lawsuit. It alleges they targeted Rashan because he's Muslim and his Middle Eastern background. The lawsuit also claims some of the most troubling allegations happened inside this building.

It's a disturbing allegation. Rashan says police officers brought him to Area Central in May and searched his anal cavity for drugs.

"Without any lubrication or anything, he puts both his fingers in my butt. He had gloves, but he didn't have any lubrication," said Rashan.

"These officers committed a hate crime, they violated him, and it's tantamount to a rape," said Michael Oppenheimer, plaintiff's attorney.

So Rashan's lawyers have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, alleging it's a hate crime because he's Iraqi-American.

"They said, 'Go back to where you're from, you don't belong here,'" said Rashan.

Rashan says that day he was on his way to an auto parts store in Bronzeville when police stopped his car a few blocks away. He says they searched him on the street, and then later threatened to Taser him if he didn't do the anal cavity search.

"State law requires that if you're going to do a body cavity search there are very, very, strict guidelines that include getting a warrant, which was absolutely not done here," said Oppenheimer.

When Rashan was released, his mom brought him to Norwegian American Hospital.

"I could see all the bruises in his chest and I have to take him immediately to the emergency room," said Imam Hussein, plaintiff's mother.

The lawyers say medical documents show Rashan was treated for anal fissures, and bruises to his neck shoulders and back.

The city responded saying, in part: "We haven't had a chance to review the complaint/charges and determine how to proceed. We will prepare to litigate the case, and we will act in the best interest of taxpayers."

"I just want the police officers to get punished for what they did," said Rashan.

Rashan's lawyers also say that a judge dismissed the drug charges that were filed against him in this particular case. The lawyers also are calling for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez to investigate the police officers' actions that day. o


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