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Minneapolis woman sues city, officers for discrimination, groping in 2019 stop

The lawsuit alleges that the officers stopped her without probable cause, and that one of them touched her genital area over her clothes.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis woman is suing the city and two police officers for discrimination and battery she says happened last year during a traffic stop.

The lawsuit was filed by Habso A. Khlaif in the District of Minnesota on June 11, and names the City of Minneapolis, Officer Scot Kaiser and Officer Anthony Maisano as defendants.

Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder referred all questions to the City Attorney's Office. A city spokesperson told KARE 11 in an email, "The City has not been served with the complaint yet and have not yet had an opportunity to look into the allegations. Therefore the City Attorney’s Office has no comment."

According to the lawsuit, Khalif said the two officers conducted a traffic stop in front of her Minneapolis home on June 18, 2019. In the complaint, Khalif said that her co-workers had pulled up to get some keys from her. She ran out to give them the keys wearing casual clothing "that she would normally wear only in her home," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit states that one of the officers told her, "Don't approach that car." She held up the keys, showing them that she wanted to give them to the people in the car, and the officer ordered her to "Come here now," according to the complaint.

As she approached the officers, one reached to grab her keys. She verbally objected, the lawsuit says, and then both officers pressed her against the squad car. The complaint states that Khalif told officers they were injuring her as they forcibly held her against the car. She also told them that she had a child alone in the house, according to the complaint.

Khalif alleges in the complaint that Kaiser asked her if she had weapons, and then touched her genital area over her clothing, and pulled her sweater up to view her back. In the lawsuit, Khalif's attorney says she told them, "You don't have to touch me like that. I'm Muslim." And that Kaiser responded, "I don't care what religion you think you are." Khalif also alleges that Maisano "mocked her," saying, "What's your private part? You tell me."

The complaint alleges that Khalif then was able to walk away, but that the officers kept her work keys.

The lawsuit alleges that the officers made an unreasonable search and seizure, violating Khalif's rights under the Fourth Amendment, and that they battered and falsely arrested her, and discriminated against her.

Khalif's lawyer argues that the officers did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion when they searched her, "using unnecessary and excessive force and making contact with her genital area, also without justification." The lawsuit also alleges that the officers discriminated against Khalif, a Somali woman, because of her ethnicity or skin color by seizing her without reasonable suspicion.

The lawsuit asks for compensatory damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees, and further relief "as this Court may deem appropriate," without naming an amount.

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