Tulsa sheriff refutes claims of religious discrimination

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the Tulsa county sheriff's office alleging religious discrimination. (Wilson/KTUL)

"We treat everyone the same," said Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado, hitting back hard at a lawsuit filed by the ACLU claiming a Muslim woman, Suha Elqutt, encountered religious discrimination while trying to get through a security checkpoint.

"She went into the courthouse wearing a hijab, a headscarf," said attorney Brady Henderson of the ACLU.

And when the deputy's metal detector went off over her head, she was stopped.

"If you enter the courthouse with something on your body that sets off the metal detector, we need to make sure that you're not carrying a weapon," said Regalado.

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"Asking somebody to take it off is a little like asking a woman to take off her shirt," said Henderson.

"To my understanding, she told him that she prefer him not reach under there or search it physically," said Regalado.

"Essentially told her if you want to get in the courthouse, you have to take it off and have men watch you do it," said Henderson.

"Nothing in the video depicts what was alleged to have occurred," said Regalado.

Women deputies were called to the scene and ended up inspecting her hair in the parking garage.

"It's unfortunate that Ms. Elqutt didn't simply remove the metal barrette and show it to the security officer when it set off the metal detector," said Regalado.

The entire experience left the woman feeling "treated like an animal."

"It's something that can really affect a person for years, in fact for their whole life," said Henderson.

There are two completely different views about one trip into a courthouse.

"I believe this video vindicates the deputies, the door guards, that you see doing their jobs," said Regalado.

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