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Muslim Woman Sues Ventura County, Alleging She Was Not Allowed To Wear Head Scarf While In Custody

A Muslim woman is suing Ventura County, claiming she was forced to remove her religious head covering when she was taken into custody by Sheriff’s deputies.

The incident happened in 2017. An attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations says a domestic dispute in Thousand Oaks led to Jennifer Hyatt being arrested.

Attorney Marwa Rifahie told KCLU News that despite Hyatt’s repeated request to keep her hijab on, she wasn’t allowed to wear it for more than four hours until she was released from the Ventura County Jail on bail.

Hyatt was never prosecuted in connection with the incident which led to her arrest.   

The attorney says the action regarding the head scarf violated federal laws allowing jail inmates to observe their faith.  Rifahie says while federal agencies has clear cut policies on this issue, some agencies in the California don't.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office officials say because the suit is pending litigation, they can’t comment on the incident.