Lawsuit accuses Tinley Park firefighters of hate crime for spraying Muslim man with hose
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter June 2, 2014 6:22PM
Updated: July 4, 2014 6:27AM
An African-American Muslim man says white suburban firefighters deliberately soaked him with the hose on their fire truck — simply because of his faith and race.
Omar Ali, 30, alleges in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that three Tinley Park firefighters who saw him wearing a turban as he walked home past their fire station on the afternoon of May 6 sprayed him, leaving him “in, fear, wetness, discomfort, humiliation and severe emotional distress.”
Accusing the firefighters of a hate crime, the lawsuit states that Ali confronted the unnamed firefighters later that day and that two of them “admitted, on videotape, that they sprayed the Plaintiff with their powerful water hose.”
One told Ali he “didn’t mean to” do it, and “offered to apologize,” and another said they were “just kidding,” the suit alleges.
“The spraying was neither an accident nor a joke, but a purposeful act that was directly related to the plaintiff’s race and/or ethnicity,” it states.
Tinley Park Fire Department did not return calls seeking comment late Monday.
It’s not the first time there have been allegations of anti-Islamic prejudice in the south suburb. Following the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, a woman was charged with a hate crime for allegedly yanking the head scarf of a Muslim woman in a supermarket.
Police in neighboring Orland Park upset some in the Muslim community that same year when they removed an alleged child murderer’s hijab for a mugshot.