“9/11 jail suit can proceed”

A very short, very important tidbit from yesterday’s Daily News, via my favorite court reporter, John Marzulli:

A class-action lawsuit can proceed against the ex-warden and two former guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center accused of violating the civil rights of Muslim and Hindu men after the 9/11 terror attacks, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Brooklyn Federal Judge John Gleeson said that the Sept. 11 attack did not justify “malicious mistreatment by federal officers.”

The eight plaintiffs, held for three to eight months on immigration violations, were subjected to 23-hour lockdown, provided with barely edible food and prevented from praying and sleeping by officers, according to court papers.

Good for John Marzulli for following this case.

and does it sound familiar to you? It should. A few years ago, Law & Order: Criminal Intent used many details of this story for an episode.

This story means a lot to me, in part because shortly after the Twin Towers disappeared, I visited my computer gurus, HiTec Computer, whose shop was then on Duane Street. It’s a mom-and-pop shop and the mom and pop, Gita and Jay, are Indian.

At the time, a guy named Mick was working for them. We chatted, because most of us had been out of our workplaces (we were seven blocks from the WTC) for at least a number of days, and HiTec had been closed for even longer. Small businesses like HiTec had a really bad time then.

Mick told me that one night shortly after the catastrophe, he was out, not very late, maybe eating somewhere and he was attacked and beaten by some men — white guys, I must tell you, because Mick has slightly darker skin than some of us. He is also American. They beat him because they thought he was Muslim. He isn’t. Hinduism is not Islam, and I don’t even know whether Mick is Hindi.

But they beat him up, pretty badly. I was incensed. “Did you go the police?” I asked. He hadn’t. So I think this federal case is in part for Mick and everyone like Mick who was terrorized by ignoramuses with a bully disposition and radically displaced rage.


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