September 13, 2002

SEPTEMBER 18, 2002 LEANNE ROBBIN OR THOM HARNETT Assistant Attorneys General 207-626-8800

Attorney General Steven Rowe announced today that the Maine Superior Court has issued an injunction under the Maine Civil Rights Act against Freedom Hamlin as a result of her assault against a City of Portland parking official of Afghan descent. The Attorney General's Complaint alleges that on February 28, 2002, the official was placing a "boot" device on a car on Casco Street in Portland when Ms. Hamlin kicked him in the foot and spit in his face shouting, "Go back to the country you came from. You don't belong here." As a result of Hamlin's conduct, the official called the dispatcher for police back-up. Hamlin continued to yell that the official should go "back to Iran." The State's evidence was based not only on the victim's statements, but also the observations of a disinterested witness.

The victim was born in Afghanistan and came to the United States as a political refugee 20 years ago, when he was granted political asylum.

The Maine Civil Rights Act prohibits any person from assaulting or threatening another person because of that person's national origin or ancestry (or because of race, color, religion, sex, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation). Under the order, Hamlin is prohibited from having contact with the victim or from using physical force or violence or threatening to use physical force or violence against any person motivated by bias based upon national origin.

Attorney General Rowe said, "This victim, like many people from the Middle East, came to this country seeking refuge from political persecution and violence. We will continue to use the Maine Civil Rights Act to keep America's promise of freedom for all people."