November 10, 2004

More than a Scuffle

Afaf Saudi was arrested for assult in a Greensboro Wal-Mart, sustaining serious injury. The local Islamic Center of the Triad immediately demanded an apology. The police were not forthcoming, since they think no excessive force was used:

Local Muslims and police officers agree only on this much: About 3 p.m. Saturday, Saudi was in the check-out line at Walmart.

Police say she became irate and refused when she was asked to leave the store. Saudi�s arrest report states that she kicked an assistant manager in the chest. Gunn said Saudi also lay on the ground to resist arrest by Neal.

Saudi was charged with resisting arrest, assaulting a Walmart employee and refusing to leave the store. Her court date is set for 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 6.

But Helmi said his mother tells family members a different story: At one point during her shopping, she forgot where she had left her shopping cart and pocketbook. She eventually found them and headed for the check-out line, where she discovered $150 missing from her purse.

She told Helmi she was embarrassed and confused that her money was missing � and unable to tell the clerk why she was upset. She claims the people around her began laughing, which upset her even more.

Now 12 witnesses say excessive force wasn't used, that the woman speaks English and is lying about her arrest:

GREENSBORO � Twelve witnesses say a police officer didn�t use excessive force when he arrested an elderly Egyptian woman at Wal-Mart on Saturday, according to police Chief David Wray....

The incident happened Saturday afternoon after Saudi�s daughter-in-law dropped her off at Wal-Mart. On Monday, Wray and department spokesman Brian James summarized eyewitness accounts:

Saudi wanted to buy a $70 piece of jewelry, but handed the clerk $20. When the clerk asked for more money, Saudi implied that the clerk had stolen money from her purse. Store management tried unsuccessfully to solve the problem, then called police while Saudi sat in a chair.

Saudi was speaking English until police arrived, then began speaking Arabic and French. Two store employees, one who spoke French and one who spoke Arabic, asked the woman to leave the store.

Saudi refused.

Officers lifted her. When she went limp, they put her down.

The officers put her in a wheelchair, then handcuffed her when she started flailing her arms. They tried to roll her out of the store, but she put her feet down so the wheelchair wouldn�t move.

When a store manager put her feet on the footrests, Saudi kicked him in the chest.

Wray said Saudi has had other disputes with Wal-Mart employees, but he would not elaborate.

In response, the Islamic Council is insisting that, of course excessive force was used against a Muslim, and spewed forth with lies about violence and hatred against Muslims:

We know there is no possible justification for this type of treatment. We are also aware that police brutality and killings have increased dramatically in recent years, and that since Sept. 11, 2001 a vicious new form of racial profiling has been put into effect against Arab, Muslim and South Asian immigrants.
Just pathetic self-victimology. And this from an organization that once had a rabid anti-Semite come to speak.

Posted by Kevin on November, 10 2004 at 11:20 AM