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Minneapolis woman claims civil, privacy rights violated by police in new federal lawsuit

Beth McDonough
Updated: June 30, 2020 10:29 PM
Created: June 30, 2020 04:12 PM

A Minneapolis woman has filed a lawsuit in federal court against two Minneapolis police officers she claimed violated her civil, religious and privacy rights.

The incident happened during a traffic stop in June 2019 near Pillsbury Avenue South and Groveland Avenue in southwest Minneapolis.

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Habso Khalif, 22, was walking in the street to meet friends waiting in a car to drop off some keys. At the time, officers Scot Kaiser and Anthony Maisano had just stopped that same vehicle for a possible traffic violation. That's when the officers talked to Khalif about what she was doing there.

The interaction was recorded on body and dash cameras. Kaiser could be heard telling Khalif, "I said don't approach the car, come over here, first of all come over here and put your hands on the car."

Khalif questioned him why she was being stopped, "Why, why, what did I do?"

Maisano answered Khalif, "Listen, when my partner asked you don't approach the car, you just stood there dumbfounded."

Khalif appears in disbelief as the questioning continued by Kaiser, "So who are you to these people?" 

Khalif responded, "They're my friends, I am giving her my keys back, she left her keys at my house and I'm giving them back and I want to get back to my daughter."

The officers can be seen on camera as they restrained Khalif against the squad car, tossed aside the keys she was holding and asked if it was okay to search her. Khalif, who is Muslim, initially consented to being searched, but she quickly objected to how they did it.

"You don't have to touch me like that, I'm Muslim, I'm Muslim, you don't have to touch me like that," she can be heard saying on the body camera video. 

It's not clear where Kaiser put his hands based on the angle of his body camera, his response to Khalif's concerns could be heard, "I don't care what religion you think you are."  Khalif responded, "What do you mean you don't care what religion I am, are you serious right now?  You can't touch my private parts and you just touched my private parts."

Kaiser told her, "It's on camera, you know that right? What is your private part, you tell me?"

During a later interview, Khalif said the officer stayed outside of her clothes during the search, but he put his hands in her private area, "When I felt that I automatically, I was just shocked."

The officers let Khalif go and she walked back home. She wasn't arrested or charged with a crime, and according to police reports filed by Kaiser and Maisano, there is no indication Khalif was detained or searched. The only possible reference to Khalif was one line in the Visinet computer communications between the squad car and dispatch that mentions "another party arrived on stop."

More details about the incident only came out after Khalif filed a federal civil rights lawsuit earlier this month, claiming the officers discriminated against her and used excessive force during an unreasonable search and seizure.

Khalif turned to Michelle Gross, a longtime activist with the neighborhood organization Communities United Against Police Brutality for help to obtain the body and dashcam video.

"Where things went wrong is when the officer insisted she come over to the squad because at that point she had committed no crime, there was not even probable cause that she might have even committed a crime or any reasonable suspicion of anything so they had no basis for detaining her, you just search people because you feel like it,"Gross said.

That is what Khalif said motivated her to take the officers to court.

"We as a people matter and our religion matters too, we respect other people's religion, we should get the same from other people too, even the law," she said.

Both the Minneapolis Police Department and Minneapolis Attorney's Office were contacted by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS but declined to respond.

As for the traffic stop, a citation was issued for not having a valid driver's license, no insurance and being illegally parked, and the vehicle was towed.


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