The terrorist in the New York and New Jersey bombings sued his local police force and claimed they were persecuting him for being a Muslim.
Ahmad Rahami said in a lawsuit that cops in Elizabeth, New Jersey subjected his and his family to discrimination and ‘selective enforcement’ based on their religion.
The family claimed that police tried to shut down their chicken restaurant, called First American, too early each night with ‘baseless’ tickets and summonses.
Ahmad, 28, his father Mohammad Sr, 53, and his brother Mohammad, brought the lawsuit together and said that local residents also racially abused them and said: ‘Muslims don’t belong here’.
The lawsuit was filed in 2011 and reveals that Ahmad has a long history of grievances with city officials, their local police force and people who lived close to them.
Five years later Ahmad is now the most wanted man in America over his alleged involvement in the New York and New Jersey bombings.
The lawsuit, filed in the federal court in Newark, says that the family are from Afghanistan and are all Muslims who have owned the chicken restaurant since 2002.
From April 2009 for two years they allege that they were unfairly targeted for staying open past 10pm despite being permitted to do so.
The lawsuit says that the police had a ‘reckless disregard and deliberate indifference for plaintiff’s constitutional rights of liberty, due process and equal protection’.
The Elizabeth police department allegedly ’embarked on a course to harass, humiliate, retaliate against and force their business to close at 10pm’.
The lawsuit claims that the officers told them there was ‘too much crime around here’ and that the area around the restaurant was ‘known for criminal activity’.
The Rahamis alleged they were being subject to ‘selective enforcement’ that were ‘solely based on an animus against plaintiff’s religion, creed, race and national origin’.
The family claim that as a result of the police shutting them down at 10pm, despite other businesses being allowed to stay open at that time, they suffered economic hardship.
During the ordeal the family claim that they suffered racist abuse at the hands of James McDermott, the owner of Dean Relay Press and Radio, a photo agency that is near to the Rahami’s chicken restaurant.
He allegedly told them: ‘You are Muslims…Muslims make too much trouble in this country’.
McDermott is alleged to have told them that ‘Muslims should not have businesses here’, ‘Muslims are trouble’ and ‘Muslims don’t belong here’.
The 11 count lawsuit names the City of Elizabeth, the Elizabeth Police Department, six Elizabeth police officers, chief of police Ronald Simon and police director James Cosgrove.
They say the harassment was ‘baseless and without probable cause’ and breached the family’s Constitutional rights.
The Rahamis claimed that it also claim it was ‘discrimination’, ‘false arrest’ and ‘abuse of process’ that left them suffering distress, embarrassment and damage to their reputation.
Court records show that the complaint was dismissed with prejudice in 2012, meaning that it could not be brought again. It is not clear if there was a settlement.
McDermott told Daily Mail that the claims against him were absolutely untrue.
‘Mohammad Rahami was operating in violation of some local ordinances, he operated way beyond closing time and it became a hangout for kids,’ he said.
‘I made complaints about it and he took offense at that. The city took him to court for his violations and then he sued the city, the police officers that were involved and me as well. We won the case.
‘He was supposed to close at 10pm, he was staying open illegally until four or five o’clock in the morning.
‘He wouldn’t let the kids in there drinking soda use the restroom and tell them to go around the corner so they would come around and use my driveway as a bathroom, that’s what I took the biggest offense at.
‘Other than the lawsuit, I kept away from them.’
He said that the backyard, which was shielded by a high fence, was quiet.
‘There was a lot of people coming and going from there, I couldn’t tell who was customers and who was family.
McDermott said that the claims that were made in the lawsuit that ‘Muslims should not have businesses here’, ‘Muslims are trouble’ and ‘Muslims don’t belong here’ are completely untrue.
McDermott, who owns Dean Relay Press and Radio agency, said that after years as a news photographer, nothing surprises him anymore.