Attorney sues GW for false imprisonment

An attorney who works at the World Bank is suing GW for $1 million in damages, after University Police Department officers allegedly falsely arrested and imprisoned her last March.

Salwa Mohamed Saleh Hamid said in a complaint filed March 24, 2011, that she was imprisoned after officers accused her of breaking a glass door that she was attempting to open March 27, 2010. The Hatchet reported in April 5, 2010, that a staff member observed Hamid kicking and shattering the door after she was denied entry to an event because she lacked a ticket.

A citizen of Chad who works as an attorney at the World Bank, Hamid told a UPD officer she had diplomatic immunity. Officers contacted the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service, which determined she did not have diplomatic immunity, and then arrested and transported her to the Third District Metropolitan Police Station for processing.

Hamid is seeking $500,000 in damages for false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and violation of international treaty, as she is not a U.S. citizen. She is seeking an additional $500,000 in punitive damages.

Hamid said in court document she was leaving a performance at Lisner Auditorium when a glass door that was stuck broke as she attempted to push it open.

A group of University security guards, she said, accused her of intentionally destroying University property, according to the documents, and although she agreed to pay to repair the door, they handcuffed her.

The complaint also says she was held in the foyer of the School of Media and Public Affairs building for nearly three hours without an explanation. Hamid said in the complaint that she repeatedly asked to call her embassy.

Hamid was taken to the police station, where she was booked and detained in a jail cell until released at 7:30 a.m., according to the complaint. She was acquitted after a trial in September.

The Office of General Counsel did not respond to a request for comment. John Karr, Hamid’s lawyer, also did not respond to a request for comment.

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