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A Bangladeshi-American New York City human rights attorney who was arrested in July 2014 while waiting on the sidewalk for her family has reached a settlement with the city regarding her civil rights suit.
Chaumtoli Huq, a mother of two, was charged for blocking the sidewalk, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct more than a year ago. She and her family had been attending a rally in support of Gaza July 19, 2014.
Huq, who is a Muslim, had taken a leave of absence from New York Public Advocate Trish James’ office just a day earlier so she could focus on human rights abuses against garment workers in her native Bangladesh.
Following the incident, Huq filed a civil suit against the New York Police Department, because she felt she was targeted as a woman of color. She believed her arrest was part of a larger pattern of over-policing communities of color.
More than 60 New York civil rights and community organizations signed a joint letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton supporting Huq and calling for a town hall meeting.
“I suggested that the midtown south precinct captain meet with community groups and share their thoughts on ways to improve police-community relations. This was rejected because it would set a precedent,” said Huq in an NBCnews.com article Aug. 24. “What is so bad to set a precedent that police have to meet with communities impacted by policing? This is what they are hired to do by our tax paying dollars.”
The city of New York agreed to give Huq $37,500 in the settlement, with no admissions regarding her civil rights or the city’s policies or practices.
Huq admitted she’s disappointed the city didn’t agree to a town hall meeting or police training about Muslim and South Asian communities to address the bigger community concerns. She intends to find alternative ways to create those links.
“Being a human rights attorney, I know the legal system does not work for those who have been historically and presently excluded from it, and I knew this growing up as a working class immigrant in the Bronx,” Huq said. “But going through the legal system as a client, not the lawyer, gives you a perch from which you see the day-to-day ways we are asked to negotiate away our rights and be comfortable with what we get.”
This story originally appeared on India West.