Jameelah El-Shabazz

October 12, 2016

Police raided Jameelah’s apartment in 2011 and found several cups filled with crushed eggshells, which Jameelah uses for religious purposes. Believing the cups were filled with drugs, police arrested Jameelah and her son Akin and held them in jail for a week. Jameelah and her son sued the city for wrongful arrest, and the city agreed to pay $37,500 to settle the case.

One month after paying that settlement, police returned to inform Jameelah that her apartment had been ordered closed under the city’s no-fault eviction ordinance. City attorneys, relying on those same discredited allegations about the cups of crushed eggshells, were claiming the apartment had been the site of drug crimes.

Although the city’s allegations were meritless, a judge had already ordered Jameelah evicted at a hearing where she had no notice of the allegations and no opportunity to respond. Jameelah could not afford the time and expense of fighting to get that decision reversed. So, to regain access to the apartment, a legal aid attorney signed an agreement on Jameelah’s behalf under which she must permanently bar her son Akin from her home.