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Said v. Teller County

United States District Court, D. Colorado

April 9, 2015

TUNNE AHAMED SAID, Plaintiff,
v.
TELLER COUNTY, TELLER COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, TELLER COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT, TELLER COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, MIKE ENSMINGER, Sheriff of Teller County, in his official and individual capacities, STAN BISHOP, Undersheriff of Teller County, in his official and individual capacities, JASON MIKASELL, Detention Commander of Teller County, in his official and individual capacities, TELLER COUNTY DETENTION SERGEANTS, in their official and individual capacities, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (

ORDER OF DISMISSAL

RICHARD P. MATSCH, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Tunne Ahamed Said ("the Plaintiff") describes herself is as a devout, life-long Muslim. According to her religious beliefs, a woman should wear an hijab to cover her hair. The Plaintiff believes it is a grievous sin for any man, other than immediate family members, to see her without her hijab, and that it is a sin to pray without wearing the hijab. ¶ 8. The Plaintiff's religious practices also include cleansing all exposed body parts immediately before kneeling to pray. Id .; see also Pl.'s resp. to Federal Defs.' mot. at p. 2. A prayer container is an essential accessory for that cleansing ritual. ¶ 38.[1]

On or about July 1, 2014, the Plaintiff was placed in the custody of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency ("ICE"). ¶ 27. She initially was detained in the "GEO detention facility, " located at 3130 North Oakland Street, Aurora Colorado.

The Plaintiff was held in the GEO facility from July 1, 2014 through September 23, 2014. ¶¶ 27-29. While there, she was permitted to wear her hijab. ¶ 29.

On or about September 23, 2014, ICE transferred the Plaintiff to the Teller County Detention Center ("TCDC") in Teller County Colorado. ¶ 31. ICE detainees may be housed at the TCDC, pursuant to contractual relationships among Teller County, the State of Colorado, and the federal government. See ¶¶ 8, 10, 17, 21. Teller County receives federal funding for allowing ICE detainees to be held at the TCDC. ¶ 32. The TCDC is operated by the department of the Sheriff of Teller County. ¶ 11.

Upon being admitted to the TCDC, the Plaintiff was required to remove her hijab and the Plaintiff's prayer container was confiscated. ¶¶ 34, 38. The Plaintiff was furnished with a replacement container that held two fluid ounces. ¶ 39.

The Plaintiff repeatedly requested that she be allowed to wear her hijab, explaining that she wore it for religious purposes. The Plaintiff also asked that her prayer container be returned because the two-ounce container was insufficient to perform the cleansing ritual. ¶¶ 38, 41. The Plaintiff's requests were denied. ¶¶ 41-42.

On September 29, 2014, the Plaintiff's counsel requested that the Plaintiff be transferred from the TCDC on the ground that the Plaintiff's rights of religious freedom were being violated there. ¶ 45.

The Plaintiff was transferred back to the GEO facility on September 30, 2014. ¶ 46. The Plaintiff remains in the custody of ICE. ¶ 27.

The Plaintiff filed this action on October 7, 2014, complaining that her rights of religious freedom had been infringed during her seven-day incarceration at the TCDC. She alleges that during her confinement at that facility, she was exposed to and forced to interact with male officers and employees, which left her feeling vulnerable, scared, embarrassed, mortified, and disgraced. ¶ 37. The Plaintiff alleges that she was unable to pray at the TCDC without her hijab and prayer container. ¶ 43. The Plaintiff further alleges that being exposed to male guards without her hijab and being unable to pray at the TCDC caused her substantial emotional distress and made her feel depressed, ashamed, violated, and unable to sleep. ¶ 44. The Plaintiff complains only about the conditions of her confinement at the TCDC. She does not complain of any current deprivations of her religious freedom.

The complaint and first amended complaint named the following defendants:

Teller County;
Teller County Detention Center;
Teller County Sheriff Department;
Teller County Board of Commissioners;
Mike Ensminger (Teller County Sheriff in his official and individual capacities);
Stan Bishop (Teller County Undersheriff in his official and individual capacities);
Jason Mikasell (Teller County Detention Commander in his official and individual capacities);[2]
Unknown Teller County Detention Sergeants, in their official and ...

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