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Prison guard says he has been target of anti-Muslim hate

A fake report at the Cheshire Correctional Institution that mocks a Muslim prison guard will be internally investigated, the Connecticut Department of Correction said Thursday.

Officer Shem Brijbilas filed a complaint after being shown the fake document by other correction officers on April 21, according to a report filed on the incident.

The document, which includes numerous racial slurs and references to white supremacy, is written to look as if it had been filed by Brijbilas, according to the officer's complaint, which was first reported by The Hartford Courant.

Copies of it were loaded into the paper tray of a printer at the prison, putting it on the back of several other reports printed that day, Farhan Memon, the chairman of Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Thursday.

Part of it reads, “The white man has done so much for us People that we need to shut up and take what is given without complaints."

Brijbilas said a similar fake report targeting him was posted on bulletin boards at the prison in 2017, but nothing came of an investigation into that incident.

“The embarrassment I feel is indescribable and at no point do I feel safe in such a volatile and hateful work environment and I am concerned for my safety and mental health wellbeing,” Brijbilas wrote.

Correction Commissioner Angel Quiros sent a letter to Memon on Monday, saying an internal investigation had been launched.

“This investigation will involve multiple employee interviews, in addition to reviewing all other available evidence,” Quiros wrote.

The department said it would have no further comment on the investigation.

“It’s insufficient for the department to be investigating itself,” Memon said. “What they need to do is bring in state police and open up a hate crimes investigation and really get to the bottom of all of this. In this case, who was the person who put this document into circulation?”

This is the second investigation into anti-Muslim bias in the department this year. In January, Officer Anthony Marlak was placed on leave after he allegedly posted a picture on social media of five men hanging from a rope by their necks with the caption “Islamic Wind Chimes.”

Quiros, in his letter to Memon, said that investigation is continuing.

 

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