Imam Injured by Border Police Wins Settlement

DALLAS – May 3, 2016 – Attorneys for Imam Amr Elsamny, of Peoria, Ill., secured a financial settlement and apology from U.S. Customs and Border Protection over a border detention incident during which Elsamny suffered injuries that were treated at a hospital.

According to his attorneys, on May 12, 2013, Mr. Elsamny was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). While detained, Mr. Elsamny alleges that the CBP officers forcibly removed him from his car and handcuffed him.

Prior to his detention, police officers detained Mr. Elsamny on two separate occasions claiming that his name matched a fugitive’s name. Mr. Elsamny believes his border detention and the officers’ use of force was likely based on this misidentification. The imam was crossing into California after visiting Mexico with family in May of 2013.

Despite the officers’ statements that their use of force was reasonable, Mr. Elsamny was not charged with resisting arrest, which is normal with incidents involving the use of force. Mr. Elsamny filed a complaint.

After learning about Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, which is funded through a generous grant from Muslim Legal Fund of America, Mr. Elsamny requested CLCMA represent his civil law suit against U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Attorneys at CLCMA submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for reports and videos of Mr. Elsamny’s stop and detention. After reviewing the information, CLCMA attorneys worked with Mr. Elsamny to submit a demand to the government agency under the Federal Tort Claims Act to compensate him for his medical damages, plus additional compensation for the pain and humiliation he suffered from being racially profiled, targeted and roughly treated at the time of his reentry into the United States.

Early in 2016, the government agreed to a financial settlement prior to CLCMA filing suit on behalf of Mr. Elsamny. Furthermore, a government representative offered an apology to Mr. Elsamny for what happened to him at the border.

The Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, Inc., is a nonprofit law center dedicated to defending the civil liberties and legal rights of Muslims in American courtrooms and litigating issues that are important to the Muslim community. CLCMA is funded by a generous grant from the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA).

Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) is a national civil liberties legal fund that defends the U.S. Bill of Rights by supporting legal cases involving civil liberty encroachments. Established in 2001, MLFA has defended freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to a fair trial, due process of law and many of our nation’s civil liberties.

Correction: In an earlier version, this release said: “While detained, Mr. Elsamny alleges that the CBP officers forcibly removed him from his car and handcuffed him. when he failed to immediately comply with the officers’ instructions to exit the vehicle.” However, Mr. Elsamny never actually resisted arrest or failed to comply with officer’s instructions and he was not asked to exit his vehicle.