Chicago Tribune: Cook County deputy testifies that he felt ‘demonized’ by racial harassment

A Cook County sheriff’s deputy of Palestinian ancestry who is suing superiors for failing to look into his complaints of racial harassment testified at the start of his trial that he endured dozens of incidents between December 2004 and March 2006.

Abraham Yasin detailed harassing phone calls while he was at work at the county jail, overhearing a conversation among other officers about hog-tying Muslims, and graffiti on his locker and a bathroom stall at the facility. He was also called names like camel jockey, terrorist, Al Qaeda and shoe bomber, his attorney, Kevin Vodak said in his opening statement.

Yasin, a Chicago native, said the harassment affected him physically and emotionally.

“I felt betrayed, demonized,” Yasin said. “I had loss of sleep, headaches.”

Yasin is seeking an undisclosed amount in monetary damages.

Attorney Sanja Djukic said the department holds training to prevent such conduct. After Yasin made complaints, there were announcements made during roll call in the division, she said.

“They reiterated there will be consequences for anyone who engaged in that conduct,” Djukic said.

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