Racial Profiling Lawsuit Opened Against City of Reno & Downtown Casino
Ali Amir Abdul-Aziz, a former member of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, has filed a racial profiling lawsuit against the City of Reno and the Eldorado Casino Resort.
Abdul-Aziz has made claims that, in September of 2012, Eldorado security guards assaulted him and detained for over an hour before he confirmed that his company had an account with the casino and that he was a member of its executive club.
He has also said that police had charged him for trespassing after refusing to produce identification and is subsequently suing the City of Reno for racial profiling.
The African-American Muslim has said that he was siting in the casinos sports book, wearing his “favorite Pittsburgh Steelers jersey”, eating gelato and enjoying a Starbucks while watching the Football game when the trouble first began.
In the lawsuit filed by Ian Silverberg on behalf of Abdul-Aziz, he has claimed that casino security approached him during the game and, despite claims he was “doing nothing wrong”, ordered him to leave and then brutally assaulting while he was complying with their demands.
According to Silverberg, “The true reason for the treatment he was received was based upon his race and his religion,” as it says in the suit filed by Silverberg in the U.S. District Court.
Although the casino has dropped the trespassing charges, they are defending their security personnel and have denied that Abdul-Aziz was assaulted or that his rights were violated.
Lawyers representing the Reno Police have said that the officer who responded to the call had nothing to do with the arrest and that any complaints about the detainment should be addressed to the casino.
The lawyer representing the Eldorado Casino, Paul Georgeson, wrote in court papers that Abdul-Aziz refused to provide identification when requested “and started to become verbally combative,” with the security guards after they made their request. The document also states that minutes after the initial confrontation, Abdul-Aziz became “physically combative” which led to him being placed in handcuffs and escorted to the holding room in the casino.
However, Abdul-Aziz has said that he was discriminated against in a “place of public accommodation” and that when he was first confronted by casino security he asked them if there was “any reasonable articulate suspicion to demand ID,” and that he was a member of the casino and had every right to be in the casino.
Then, Abdu-Aziz asked security if he was the suspect in a criminal investigation and was informed by guards that he “looked like someone” they’d had trouble with before. He then informed the security that “it was not a crime to look like someone,” and that if there was “any complaint about a black Muslim man committing crime in the Eldorado wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey?”
According to the lawsuit, it was at that point, while he was trying to leave the hotel, a guard jumped him from behind and forced him to the ground before handcuffing him and hauling him away. After an hour waiting in the holding room, Reno police officers interrogated him for 10 minutes before ordering he be released and calling for paramedics.
Abdul-Aziz has said that the officer allowed him to call the casino front desk, who confirmed his identity. With the police officer listening in on the call, the supervisor instantly recognized him and even offered to come to the holding room to identify him. Upon verifying his identity, the officer handed Abdul-Aziz the trespassing citation and allowed him to leave the room.
U.S. Magistrate Judge, Valerie Cook, has scheduled a December 15 conference on the case.
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