SAN FRANCISCO: A coalition of civil rights groups is calling for the suspension of California Highway Patrol (CHiPs) officers involved in the arrest of a young girl at a protest last week.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the ACLU, the NAACP, and the National Lawyers Guild are among the organizations that say police used excessive force when breaking up a peaceful protest, and unfairly arrested 11-year-old Sophia Ibrahim.
"What we're hoping for is that there be a full investigation of the incident, said CAIR Northern California executive director Helal Omeira. "I would hope the CHiPs would acknowledge what they did was wrong."
The coalition has held press conferences and issued releases detailing the incident to its national network.
Ibrahim, along with 30 others, was arrested after an anti-war, pro-Palestinian march across the Golden Gate Bridge. CHiPs officers tried to turn the protesters back before they reached the Marin side, when it appeared they would not finish their rally by the 2pm deadline.
Some protesters sat down, leading officers to use nightsticks and pepper spray. Omeira alleges that an officer repeatedly poked Ibrahim with a nightstick. She was then pushed to the ground, and had her hands secured behind her back. CHiPs accounts claim the girl struck the officer, though Omeira denied she did more than tell the officer to stop hitting her.
Ibrahim was later charged with a felony count of assaulting an officer.
The incident has garnered local, national, and international coverage, including calls to CAIR from CNN.
Calls to a CHiPs spokesman were not returned.