ADC Welcomes Victory of Arab American Police Officer in Discrimination Lawsuit
Pontiac, Michigan, Feb. 10 — A Michigan jury today awarded an Arab American police officer $10,000 and legal costs in a discrimination law suit against a nightclub. Amad Elzayat, an Arab American law enforcement officer and member of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), brought suit against discriminatory practices by “The Fourth Street Asylum,” a nightclub in Royal Oak, Michigan, which denied him entry on the basis of his Arab ethnicity. The incident that led to the lawsuit occurred on May 5, 1996, when off-duty officers Amad Elzayat, Samer Jaafar, and Khaled Sabbagh attempted to enter the nightclub. The manager denied them all entry, while other patrons of European descent were permitted to enter.
The excuse used by the manager to deny entry to the officers was that they were carrying invalid driver’s licenses. Another employee, who was standing at the door, informed the manager that the licenses were valid. To this the manager responded, “I made the call, I don’t want these Fu–ing Arabs in here.”
In the past, ADC has received many complaints of discrimination against the “Fourth Street Asylum” nightclub, but this is the first legal challenge against it.
ADC deplores the use of ethnicity or race as grounds to deny anyone access to a public establishment. ADC commends its members, the officers, for standing up for their legal rights, and urges all Arab Americans and people concerned with justice never to submit without challenge to discrimination and bigotry.
ADC President Hala Maksoud welcomed the jury verdict and the judgement as a demonstration that bigotry and illegal discrimination will not be tolerated in the United States and that Arab Americans can use the courts to defend their rights. President Maksoud observed that “the courts are the appropriate recourse for challenging discriminatory practices, and should be utilized.”