Jessica Raven told WJLA Channel 7 that she was inside the Shaw Library in NW DC Wednesday afternoon when she witnessed a Library police officer humiliate a woman in a hijab.
A DC Public Library police officer threatened to handcuff the Muslim woman if she did not remove her hijab.
“He came towards her and he took out his handcuffs and said if you aren’t going to take it off then you are going to have to leave,” Raven said.
“I was enormously angry about it,” says another witness Eric Robinson.
Robinson, who was sitting next to the woman wearing the hijab, said the officer told her initially to take her “hoodie” off.
He said at first she turned her head, grimaced in humiliation and declined to remove the hijab. But when it escalated she quickly left.
“Her response was why I was upset because she just got up and walked away,” said Robinson.
Robinson says he reported the incident to library officials. Raven took the twitter, blasting the officer’s behavior.
“What are you going to arrest her for wearing a hijab, reading a book?,” said Raven.
A spokesperson for the DC Public Library said in a prepared statement “We welcome all, we serve all and we deeply regret this happening and are taking it very seriously.”
That spokesperson added that the officer has been removed from duty during the investigation and that they are trying to find the customer to express their regret.
A spokesperson for The Council on American Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, said he’s pleased with the library’s response but if this incident proves true he would view it as a symptom of growing Islamophobia nationwide.
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