ARAB AMERICANS TARGETED BY POLICE
June 26, 2002
– The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in Michigan has recently received a number of complaints about Arab Americans who have been subject to harassment by police officers in Metro Detroit.
So far, all of the cases received have involved minor traffic violations. However, it has been found that during all of these police stops, officers have approached citizens in a very aggressive and insulting manor.
ADC has been informed that a number of Arab Americans, who have been pulled over, have been asked to step out of their vehicles, some were handcuffed, arrested and even subject to physical abuse. ADC has found that some of these individuals were released without a citation, or any report of a minor violation.
ADC has also been alerted that in some cases, personal information was taken from these individuals without their knowledge, including bank slips and phone books that happened to be in their possession. Even though these personal belongings were taken, the officers made no report, indicating what possessions they had seized. So far, none of the information that ADC has received supports a reason or justification for these individuals to be searched. ADC has learned that some of these incidents have occurred in the City of Dearborn and the City of Waterford.
ADC is very alarmed by this information.
Due to the sensitive and serious nature of this matter, ADC is in the process of collecting data, verifying facts and investigating this situation.
ADC urges members of the Arab American Community who have been victims of abusive police behavior, or who know anyone who has, to immediately report it.
It is very critical that we obtain accurate information and document as many cases as possible, so that we may bring it to the proper authorities and deal with this matter amicably.
Since September 11 ADC has endured many challenges. Racial profiling has been a major concern and challenge to the Arab American community and other minorities as well.
Therefore, as a community, we should not surrender to the intimidation and fear of reporting violations of our basic rights. We encourage all individuals to speak out and not fear retaliation. Please keep in mind that this nation is based on laws and values that provide guaranteed rights to all. Discrimination, or selective treatment by any agency should not be tolerated, or accepted, and should be dealt with swiftly.
We need your help to monitor this situation. Please call 313-581-1201, or forward your complaints and any information you may have to 313-581-1604 (ADC fax line), or