Santa Clara County reaches $90K settlement with woman whose hijab was removed in jail

The Santa Clara County Calif. Sheriff Department logo. seal badge (Photo courtesy of the Santa Clara County Sheriff Department)

Santa Clara County has agreed to a $90,000 settlement with a Muslim woman who said her hijab was inappropriately removed when she was being booked into jail last year.

As part of its agreement with Asia Aden, the sheriff's office will also work with the Council on American-Islamic Relations to better implement its religious service policy.

Aden was asked to remove her hijab so jail staff could conduct a "pat search" but it wasn't returned to her until she was released from custody a few days later.

The religious service policy allows Muslim women to keep their hijabs or receive a jail-issued religious covering and to be searched in private or outside the presence of men.

"We urge more municipalities to follow Santa Clara County's example by reviewing and implementing policies to ensure everyone's constitutional rights are protected, regardless of faith," said Council on American-Islamic Relations lawyer Jeffrey Wang.