Woman of Iranian descent
sues CHP for national origin discrimination
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
April 5, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - A spokesman at the California Highway
Patrol's headquarters in Sacramento said today, "We don't
racially profile," but said he could not comment specifically
on a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco by a woman
of Iranian descent.
CHP spokesman Tony Marshall said, "We don't have any comment
on pending cases. I'm not going to get into specifics."
The lawsuit was filed on March 29 by Zahra Sedaghatpour, 38,
of Fremont, over an incident in which she was stopped for alleged
speeding in her red Mercedes Benz on Interstate Highway 680 in
Pleasanton on Sept. 12, 2006.
The lawsuit alleges that Officer Jon Schatmeier made ethnically
demeaning remarks and that he and another officer hurt her arm,
leg and elbow when she was allegedly dragged out of her car and
The date of the incident was the day after the fifth anniversary
of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. Sedaghatpour
alleges in the suit that Schatmeier told her, "Today is Sept.
12. Do you remember Sept. 11? It's people like you who killed
all of our people."
The lawsuit also alleges the officer said, "I don't have
time for you foreigners to sit in your Mercedes ... You think
you own the country."
The defendants in the lawsuit are the state of California, the
CHP, Schatmeier and two unidentified officers.
The suit is based on claims of racial and national origin discrimination,
use of excessive force and unreasonable seizure in violation of
the U.S. and state constitutions and laws.
It seeks financial compensation, punitive damages and a court
injunction requiring the CHP to stop the alleged practices and
retrain its officers.
The case was assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte,
who is scheduled to hold a case management conference in her San
Francisco courtroom on July 3.
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