By Farah Harb
HAMTRAMCK — Members of a Hamtramck family claim the police treated them pitilessly during a traffic stop on Jan. 3 in which the father was pulled over for an expired tag and ticketed for having no insurance.
Nasser Almasmari had his pregnant wife, 10-year old son and 2-year-old and 11-month-old daughters with him when he was asked to wait outside his car in the cold.
“They threw us out on the road in the cold like animals, while the temperature was 13 below the freezing point,” Almasmari said.
“I was driving to the hospital as my eight month pregnant wife was feeling sick when the police stopped us and made us wait in the cold for 30 minutes,” he added. “My wife and I tried explaining to them that we drove with no insurance because I had to take her to the hospital, but the police were clearly treating us with discrimination.”
Almasmari said that as the police made them wait in the cold, they called their friends to come pick them up, but their friends were hindered by the weather so they asked the police for a ride home.
Almasmari said an officer told him, “You have to walk.” He added that he and his family had to walk for 400-500 meters (one third of a mile) to get home, but the cold was unbearable.
“The police asked to meet with us later after the story became public, but they did not even apologize for the mistreatment,” Almasmari told The AANews.
Almasmari brought his concerns to the Hamtramck City Council through a letter that went viral on social media, urging the City Council to take action.
“I’m asking you, as a voter, are we really being treated as human or as animals here in this city?” he asked. “Please tell us what to do.”
His post went viral on Tuesday. Almasmari also brought his concerns to the City Council meeting on Tuesday, where he spoke during the public comments section. Hamtramck Police Chief Ann Moise said she saw the social media post she was glad Almasmari brought his concerns to the Council in person.
Moise added that she doesn’t know whether the events happened as he said they did, but she will investigate.
“We want to make sure everyone is treated fairly,” she said. “And with respect, that’s always been our goal. So, we’d like to get to the bottom of this and make sure if there was something that happened that we should use it as a training tool and make sure it doesn’t happen to someone again.”
Almasmari said he has hired a lawyer and Moise said she’ll be meeting with the family in the coming days.