Alaa Massri, a college student, was protesting in a Black Lives Matter protest in Miami, Florida on June 10th, 2020. As a college student, Massri was a part of the medic team providing aid for protestors who got hurt. During the protest in Miami, she noticed a police car hitting a protestor, and she began rushing to help whoever got hurt. However, immediately she faced a group of cops in riot gear. The police began touching her, unwarrantedly, while she says she respectfully asked them to stop. Their response: arrest her. 

After allegedly zip-tying her, charging her with battery, resisting an officer with violence, and disorderly conduct, they took her to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Facility where they placed her into handcuffs. They proceeded to take off her hijab for her mugshot. After unlawfully taking her picture, her photo was shown on TV across many platforms. And as if taking off her hijab for the mugshot wasn’t enough, they denied her her right to wear it for the seven hours after. 

The Miami Police Department has a history of racism that dates back to its establishment in 1896. Even within the police department, Black officers addressed discrimination and racism to the chief, Jorge Colina. In fact, the infamous “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” phrase Trump used in a Twitter post back in May was coined by Miami police chief Walter E. Headley in 1967

Massri was going to help a protester who was injured by the police. But, the police arrested Massri unlawfully. She was not told the reason she was arrested. The Miami Police Department did not read her her Miranda rights—a principle that requires all police officers to notify arrested citizens of their rights. Her constitutional right to wear a hijab was stripped. Her constitutional right to freedom of speech was violated. And many of her human rights were violated. 

Alaa Massri is still facing all charges and sits with the traumatizing experience of being emotionally, mentally, and physically violated by the police. Behavior like this from police departments across the United States continue to prove that the policing system needs to be reformed. 

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