A retired police chief is detained at JFK for one reason: His name is Hassan
By Petula Dvorak
Mar 20 2017
He’s been called lots of things: chief, deputy chief, officer, husband, son, dad, immigrant, American.
But none of those titles mattered when Hassan Aden landed on U.S. soil earlier this month in Trump’s America. All that mattered was that his name is Hassan. And that, apparently, was enough for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to question everything else about Aden’s life.
Aden, 52, is a retired Greenville, N.C., police chief and a former deputy chief with the Alexandria police in Virginia.
So why was a lifelong law enforcement official detained for an hour and a half at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport when he returned from a trip to Paris? Was he being profiled because of his Muslim-sounding first name?
Hassan Aden, 52, is a retired Greenville, N.C., police chief and a former deputy chief with the Alexandria police in Va. Aden says he was “profiled” at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport because of his name. (WUSA)
Hassan is an immigrant, the Italian-born son of an Italian mother and a Somali father. He has lived in this country for 42 years and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He has a U.S. passport and TSA Pre-check. He’s been out of the country dozens of times without incident. Not this time.
“This experience has left me feeling vulnerable and unsure of the future of a country that was once great and that I proudly called my own,” Aden wrote in a long Facebook post describing the unnerving detention. “This experience makes me question if this is indeed home.”
A spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection denied that officers were engaging in profiling. In an email to my Post colleague Faiz Siddiqui, she said the agency bars race and ethnicity from being considered in screening “in all but the most exceptional circumstances.”
So what was exceptional about a retired cop coming home from celebrating his mother’s 80th birthday? One thing: his first name.
Aden was treated shamefully. The America that stops Chief Aden, locks him in a room and judges him is an America filled with fear and ignorance, not “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Want to say this is about terrorism?
Give. Us. A. Break.
This guy’s a cop. He knows what’s up.
“Prior to this administration, I frequently attended meetings at the White House and advised on national police policy reforms — all that to say that If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone with attributes that can be ‘profiled,’ ”Aden wrote. “No one is safe from this type of unlawful government intrusion.”