Calif. Woman Sues Patrol, Accuses Officer Of Saying Her 'People' Caused 9-11 Attacks


Thursday, April 5th 2007, 9:36 pm
By: News On 6


FREMONT, Calif. (AP) _ A woman of Iranian descent is suing the California Highway Patrol, alleging that an officer who stopped her for speeding accused her ``people'' of being responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Zahra Sedaghatpour, 38, of Fremont, alleges her civil rights were violated when Officer Jon Schatmeier, 32, berated her after she asked not to be cited for traveling 79 mph on Interstate 680 last year.

``Today is Sept. 12. Do you remember Sept. 11? Do you know what happened on Sept. 11?'' Schatmeier said, according to the lawsuit filed March 29 in federal court in San Francisco. ``It's people like you who killed all of our people. This is our country! Why don't you go back to your country?''

Schatmeier told the woman to ``shut up'' and refused to provide a business card when she asked for one, according to the lawsuit. When the officer asked her to sign the citation, Sedaghatpour asked whether she could read it first.

The officer yelled, ``I don't have time for you foreigners to sit in your Mercedes. You think you own the road! You think you own the country,'' according to the lawsuit. He also pulled her out of the car to berate her further, the lawsuit said.

A patrol supervisor arrived at the scene and told the officer to release Sedaghatpour, who then went to a hospital to be treated for bruises on her arm and leg and elbow pain, the lawsuit says. She also filed a complaint that day against the patrol, her attorney Hunter Pyle said.

``We want the officer to be held accountable,'' Pyle said.

It was not immediately known whether Sedaghatpour was seeking monetary damages. A telephone message left with her attorney was not immediately returned.

A patrol spokesman refused to comment, citing pending litigation. A woman who answered the phone at the patrol said Schatmeier was unavailable for comment.