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Petition: Human rights lawyer arrested, told she should have taken her husband's last name



On July 19, 2014, human rights lawyer and mother Chaumtoli Huq was unlawfully arrested and detained for 9 hours. She was wearing a traditional South Asian tunic while waiting outside a restaurant in Times Square for her children and husband to use the restroom. Police approached her and told her to move. Ms. Huq was not blocking any passage that would prevent the public from free access to the sidewalk. When she explained she was waiting for her family, Officer Ryan Lathrop became irate. He continued to use force to arrest her, and when Ms. Huq said that she was in pain, Officer Lathrop told her "shut your mouth." When Officer Lathrop found out Ms. Huq had a different last name than her husband, he told her "in America, wives take the names of their husbands." Ms. Huq was arrested and held at the local precinct for nine hours. We demand that Bill de Blasio hold a public town hall meeting to respond to each and every case of police brutality so that the public can have a dialogue on over-policing in our communities. 

This arrest is characteristic of a pattern and practice of the NYPD of aggressive over-policing of people of color and persons lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights. It also shows a lack of gender sensitivity and ignorance towards diverse cultures in New York. No police officer should harass anyone, let alone question cultural norms of family relationships. 

This incident did not take place in a vacuum, as over-policing, discrimination, and police brutality has been at the forefront of national dialogue. Police misconduct and civil rights abuses following the police shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has shocked the conscience of the nation. Even within New York City, however, we have plenty of examples of horrific over-policing. 

We are calling on you to demand that Bill de Blasio and Commissioner William Bratton take proactive steps toward ending police brutality and harassment of women and people of color.