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Arab-American Police Officer Files Complaints of Racial Harassment:
He says he faced slurs after the Sept. 11 attacks

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
October 19, 2005

By Bob Purvis
Staff Reporter

Milwaukee's first Arab-American police officer, arrested and later released in August after he was accused of saying he wanted to shoot up the district where he worked, has filed complaints saying he faced harassment following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Ayman Khatib, a Palestinian native who gained U.S. citizenship in 1997 and joined the police force in 2002, made the allegations in complaints filed with Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Equal Rights Division and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Khatib claimed in the complaints that he was subjected to racial slurs and harassment from fellow officers and supervisors and was denied promotions for which he was qualified.

Many of the slurs are not attributed to specific officers, but he accuses his field training officer of using slurs when referring to Khatib. The complaints also say a patrol officer referred to Khatib and his Indian-American patrol partner as the "Convenience Corner Store Squad."

The complaints also allege:

Khatib was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by his psychiatrist July 29. In a report he submitted the next day about the exacerbation of a tailbone injury, he made mention of harassment, but the department failed to look into it. A report he submitted a week later was similarly ignored.

On Aug. 26, when Khatib met with a city employee to request duty disability retirement, he told the employee about the harassment.

The city employee claimed Khatib said, "Sometimes I feel like shooting up District 7." Khatib denies in the complaints that he made that statement.

Khatib was arrested that night at his apartment complex by a police tactical squad, according to the complaints. He was booked into the County Jail and released after posting $150 bail, jail records say.

Deputy District Attorney Jon Reddin chose not to charge Khatib because the words he was accused of using weren't deemed a "true threat" and were protected under the First Amendment.

The department suspended Khatib with pay and launched an internal investigation into the alleged threats and another incident in which the department said Khatib failed to follow an official order regarding an extended vacation. The department doesn't comment on pending litigation, spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said.

Khatib's attorney and the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations planned a news conference about the complaints today.

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