A security officer kicked a woman out of a public library for the simple reason of wearing a hijab, all in the nation's capital no less.
The woman, whose name remains unknown, was visiting the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library in Washington D.C., when she was approached by security guard Timothy Cragette, who told her to remove the headscarf.
When she refused to comply, the man took out handcuffs and told her if she didn’t remove it, she had to leave.
For a Muslim woman, wearing a headscarf is a matter of modesty. It is extremely offensive, in fact bordering on sexual harassment, to ask a woman to remove her hijab in a public.
The D.C. Public Library suspended the police officer after a witness complained of his behavior and an investigation ensued.
However, Cragette denies the allegations and says he kicked out the woman because she was sleeping in the library, which is against the rules.
“When I walked up, I saw her with her head down and a hood on,” he said. “So when I approached her, I said, ‘Ma’am, you can't sleep in here and can you please take off your hood.””
Cragette additionally remarked he didn’t know the woman was a Muslim and that she was wearing a hoodie, not a hijab. However, Jessica Raven, a witness to the scene, said: “He was telling her to remove the hijab. He just kept harassing her. She told him it wasn't bothering anyone. He responded that it was bothering him."
Raven said the entire incidence motivated her to organize a protest in an attempt to make public places like libraries address the issue of Islamophobia head on.
The demonstration, which took place on the weekend after the incident, prompted an an apology from the library, but Cragette was still re-instated to his job.
This isn’t the first time the D.C. officer has gone virtually unpunished for misconduct. He was dismissed from the police force in 1990 for destroying a citizen’s property but was later rehired.
In the wake of terrorist attacks all over the world and the incendiary rhetoric of the Republicans, cases like these are no longer a rarity.
Just a few days ago, a family going to visit Disney World was booted from a United Airlines flight, simply because they were Muslims and the flight attendant was concerned about “flight safety issues.”