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$500,000 Settlement in Santa Clara Ethnic Profiling Case

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

The City of Santa Clara, New Mexico has agreed to pay Mohammad Moneeb, a Muslim border protection officer, nearly $500,000 to settle his lawsuit involving ethnic profiling by the city’s police force.

According to Moneeb, on February 8, 2014, his uncle, an Uber driver, was involved in a car accident. Consequently, the vehicle his uncle was driving, which he did not own, was towed to Moneeb’s home. The owner of the vehicle arrived at Moneeb’s home to retrieve the camera. After Moneeb told the owner that he did not have the dashboard camera in his possession, the owner reported him to the Santa Clara police.


The police arrived at Moneeb’s home two days later and instigated a futile search for the camera. Thereafter, Moneeb filed a complaint against the officers. Six weeks after the initial search, the police returned to Moneeb’s home with a $100,000 felony arrest warrant. The police blocked the family car in the driveway, used a battering ram to knock down the door, and slammed Moneeb into the cement pavement before handcuffing him. Moneeb’s parents were also placed in handcuffs and forced to sit on the curb while police allegedly searched the home for the camera. The police ripped the house apart during the search—photographing religious scrolls and emptying out toiletries.

Police never found the camera, and in December 2014, the case against Moneeb was dropped. Moneeb’s uncle was later charged with stealing the camera. However, after he repeatedly stated that he simply lost it, he was allowed to pay $400 to a charity and the case against him was dismissed.

The case is: Moneeb et al v. City of Santa Clara et al, Docket No. 5:2015-cv-01987


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