New York City human rights attorney and mother of two, Chaumtoli Huq, who was arrested last July while waiting on the sidewalk for her family, has reached a settlement with the City of New York regarding her civil rights suit. In 2014, Huq was charged for blocking the sidewalk, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. She and her family had been attending a rally in support of Gaza.
Huq filed the civil suit because she believed that she was targeted as a woman of color and that her arrest was part of a larger pattern of over-policing communities of color. Over 60 New York civil rights and community organizations signed a joint letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton in support of Huq and calling for a town hall meeting.
“I suggested that the midtown South precinct captain meet with community groups, and share their thoughts on ways to improve police community relations. This was rejected because it would set a precedent," said Huq. “What is so bad to set a precedent that police have to meet with communities impacted by policing? This is what they are hired to do by our tax paying dollars.”
In the settlement agreement, the City of New York agreed to give Huq a financial settlement of $37,500, with no admissions regarding Huq’s civil rights or the City’s policies or practices.
Huq says she's disappointed that the City would not agree to a town hall meeting or police training about Muslim and South Asian communities to address larger community concerns. However, she says she plans to pursue other means to create those links.
“Being a human rights attorney, I know the legal system does not work for those who have been historically and presently excluded from it, and knew this growing up as a working class immigrant in the Bronx,” Huq said. “But going through the legal system as a client, not the lawyer, gives you a perch from which you see the day to day ways we are asked to negotiate away our rights, and be comfortable with what we get.”