NEW YORK — A federal judge has ordered the New York Police Department to pay salary and benefits to a Muslim officer who has been suspended for violating the department’s beard policy.
Manhattan Judge P. Kevin Castel granted a temporary restraining order Wednesday, a day after Officer Masood Syed was suspended without pay and escorted out of police headquarters.
City attorney Michael Fleming said Syed’s beard surpassed the 1-millimeter length the department allows. Fleming said the limit is necessary for gas masks to fit tightly on officers’ faces.
Syed filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday. He’s seeking unspecified financial damages and a court order banning the NYPD from enforcing its beard policy.
The lawsuit said the court should require the department to adopt a policy that provides reasonable religious accommodations.
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