An ex-police officer has filed a federal lawsuit against his former employee, claiming he was fired from his job for complaining about the racist and anti-Muslim insults his colleagues regularly hurled at him.
Ramtin Sabet, who is now suing the North Chicago Police Department and the city, said his superiors refused to take action when he pointed out that his coworkers repeatedly called him a "terrorist," an "ISIS leader working as a police officer" and asked if he had trained with al-Qaida just because he was a practicing Muslim.
Being an Iranian immigrant, Sabet often saw his culture and religion also becoming the butt of the jokes. He alleged his fellow officers often said that he rode a camel or a goat to work.
“It was like I was being hazed all the time,” he told the Chicago Tribune, adding the other cops used to make derogatory comments about him even when he was dealing with suspects.
"I'm placing handcuffs on somebody, and they keep making fun of (me) all the way from the crime scene to the station as a result of my own officers making harassing comments towards me," Sabet continued.
Initially, he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2012. In 2015 and 2016 Sabet was accused of making anti-Semitic comments — a claim he continues to denies. In 2016, he filed a second complaint and was granted the right to sue.
Shortly afterwards, he was placed on administrative leave and threatened with "possible termination."
However, the department vehemently denies such allegations.
"Officer Sabet was terminated for violations of police department rules and regulations," claimed Police Chief Richard Wilson. "He has challenged that determination. The city plans to vigorously defend its decision."
Sabet had spent 15 year of his life working in the police department, 10 of which were with North Chicago.
He further stated the department discriminated and treated him "less favorably" than others because of his religion and ethnicity, deliberately depriving him of opportunities to advance his career.
The Chicago chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is now representing Sabet, who has taken up a job at another law enforcement agency but had to accept a pay cut.
"We trust our police departments to keep us safe," commented CAIR Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab. "We trust that they have moral fortitude that they should practice within their own departments, as well as with the citizens that they serve."
Recently, former Greenville, North Carolina, police chief Hassan Aden was singled out at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he was returning to the United States from France after celebrating his mother’s 80th birthday in Paris. Aden, who has spent 30 years on police force, was detained for more than 90 minutes in what could only described as a case of racial profiling.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Frank Polich