Rifahie said her client was not aware that a warrant for her arrest had been sent out for the petty theft charge in 2002, adding that the other two warrants were for Powell's sister, who falsely used her sister's name, according to the federal lawsuit.
Despite explaining her hijab's religious significance, Powell alleged that the head covering was forcibly removed by a male officer during her arrest, and not returned to her until she was released from jail the following day.
The original policy stated that police could ban inmates from wearing headscarves altogether.
Long Beach: A Muslim woman has been awarded $85,000 after an officer forcibly removed her hijab, or headscarf, when she was in police custody in Long Beach, California. Powell was denied requests for a female officer to search her and was denied requests to wear her hijab in custody.
The woman was allegedly stripped of her hijab during an arrest.
Powell was without her hijab for 24 hours until she was released.
'She cried throughout the ordeal and experienced humiliation when both her religious beliefs and personal integrity were violated, ' Powell's lawsuit says. Powell wears the hijab as part of her religious beliefs and was forced to spend the night without the covering while in custody.
'She felt that the male officers and male inmates had seen parts of her body that they should not have seen, according to her religious beliefs'. Powell filed the lawsuit in April 2016, alleging the police department had violated her First Amendment rights.
Under the act, "individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions" are protected "from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws", according to the Department of Justice.
Following the suit, the department changed its policies.
Now female officers are required to remove the headscarves of female inmates "when necessary for officer safety", and away from male officers and inmates, Long Beach assistant city attorney Monte Machit told the Los Angeles Times. These items include belts, neckties, shoelaces, and head coverings.