Media Advisory: Cook Country Sheriff Discrimination Trial Moves Forward

(CHICAGO, IL, 5/5/09) CAIR-Chicago announced today that a District Court ruled for a corrections officer’s discrimination case against the Cook County Sheriff’s department to move to trial. U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve denied Cook County’s motion for summary judgment this week. (The court had also denied Cook County’s motion to dismiss the case in 2008.)

CAIR-Chicago began litigation on behalf of Officer Abraham Yasin in 2007, after he had been experiencing harassment by other correctional officers starting in December 2004. Cook County officers continuously and anonymously targeted Yasin with racist slurs such as “terrorist,” “Hussein,” “sand ni**er,” “bin Laden,” “shoe bomber,” and “camel jockey.” Yasin testified that his co-workers made calls over the radio and telephone about his ancestry and national origin as many as ten times a day, and at least a hundred times for over a one-year period.

Despite repeatedly reporting the incidents, multiple supervisors and the Internal Affairs Division failed to take adequate corrective action.

“No individual should suffer harassment at work based on race,” said CAIR-Chicago Staff Attorney Kevin Vodak. “It is particularly egregious that the officers entrusted to uphold the law failed to take action to stop the discrimination.”

In the opinion issued this week, Judge St. Eve noted, “Yasin has presented evidence creating an issue of fact for trial that a reasonable person would find the alleged harassment pervasive or severe enough to create a hostile and abusive work environment.”

Cook County is the second most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County.

CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil rights group, which has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: Reem Rahman, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: communications@cairchicago.org; 312.212.1520 or 217.493.0912; Kevin Vodak, Attorney, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: civilrights@cairchicago.org; 312.212.1520;