A security officer at a Washington, D.C., library is returning to work after being put on administrative leave for ordering a Muslim woman to remove her hijab.
Timothy Craggette, who works at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library in the nation’s capital, will work the night shift so he does not have to interact with the public, according to Religion News Service. The incident that put him there occurred on March 23, when Craggette threatened to handcuff a woman wearing a headscarf if she did not take it off.
Craggette, who served 28 years as a D.C. police officer before taking his job at the library, asserted that he did not know it was a hijab, and that his actions had nothing to do with the woman’s religion.
“It appeared to be a hoodie,” Craggette told The Huffington Post. “It was not a religious hat that I know. She didn’t have that. I asked her to take her hoodie off and told her: ‘If you’re not going to take it off, you have to leave.’ So I pulled out my handcuffs and then she got up and she left.”
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Eyewitnesses, including Jessica Raven, who was standing near to the woman involved in the incident, said that the hijab was clearly not a hoodie.
“It was very clear that she was wearing [a] hijab,” Raven said, according to The Huffington Post. “All I heard was he started asking her to take off her hijab. My jaw dropped,” she said. “The man next to her spoke up, but the officer continued to harass her. Ultimately, he came towards her in an intimidating way, pulled out his handcuffs and said if she didn’t want to take off [the hijab], she had to leave.”
Although Craggette said he and other library officers ask people to take off their hoodies in the library “so we know who the people are,” the D.C. Public Library system denied the library had any policy about wearing hoodies indoors.
The woman left after the incident and has not stepped forward so far, according to Religion News Service.