Kambiz Fattahi (GRD ’08), who claims that the Department of Public Safety acted discriminatorily when it detained him during a graduation ceremony last year, filed a lawsuit against Georgetown today for a violation of his Constitutional rights.

The lawsuit charges the university with unlawful detention, public discrimination and false imprisonment, claiming that Fattahi’s detainment was in violation of the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure, and the 14th amendment, which protects his citizenship rights.

University spokesperson Julie Bataille said that “Georgetown will defend itself vigorously against these allegations,” but she declined further comment.

Fattahi, an Iranian-American, was removed from a commencement ceremony in McDonough Gymnasium last May after DPS received a complaint that Fattahi was looking around nervously and reaching into his bag. He has since claimed that he was a victim of ethnic profiling by Sergeant Winfred Walton and Officer Randolph Christian, who he said made jokes about his national origin after detaining him, and DPS Director Darryl Harrison, who was present during part of the interrogation.

An investigation into the incident by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action two months later concluded that DPS was not at fault and responded “appropriately.”

Today’s legal action comes after the university offered Fattahi’s lawyer a settlement on Friday, which Fattahi rejected. The settlement included “training” for the members of DPS and the IDEAA who were involved in the detainment and investigation, a payment of up to $15,000 to Fattahi’s lawyers to drop the case and a private letter of regret to Fattahi.

In a draft of the letter sent to Fattahi’s lawyer, the university says it regrets the imposition on Fattahi and the anger he has felt as a result.

“I was waiting for them to see what kind of response I would get, and then I got this kind of disappointing response, so I had to move forward,” Fattahi said. “The letter of regret was the last straw. . It was very insulting.”

Harrison, Walton, Christian and the university have been called to answer the complaint within the next 20 days.

Fattahi said that he wants to see a reinvestigation of the incident by a third party, a public apology and intensive training on human rights for DPS officers.

“This is my main goal – to get some transparency,” Fattahi said. “They have to accept responsibility.”

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.