Bombing suspect's family accused city of discrimination

Story highlights

  • The Rahami family runs the First American Fried Chicken restaurant in Elizabeth, New Jersey
  • They filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging discrimination and harassment from the city and police

(CNN)Bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami's family accused the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and its police department in 2011 of discrimination and harassment.

The Rahami family runs the First American Fried Chicken restaurant in Elizabeth. In 2011, the city council voted to close the restaurant at 10 p.m. because of "all the people hanging out there" around the clock, Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage said Monday.
    Owner Mohammad Rahami and his two sons filed a lawsuit claiming the city conspired to "discriminate" and "illegally harass" them by subjecting them to citations for allegedly violating a city ordinance on hours of operation.
    The case alleged the Rahamis were "threatened and harassed" by a police officer. It argues that officers and city representatives said "the restaurant presented a danger to the community."
    It also accused a neighboring business owner of telling the Rahamis that "Muslims make too much trouble in this country" and "don't belong here."
    The defendants, including police officers and city officials, denied the allegations.
    Federal court records show the case ended in a "statistical closing." Bollwage said Monday the 2012 ruling on the case favored the city, adding that the family's restaurant was "disruptive in the city for many, many years."
    Zobyedh Rahami, believed to be Ahmad Rahami's sister, posted on Facebook asking for privacy on Monday.
    "I would like people to respect my family's privacy and let us have our peace after this tragic time," she wrote.
    Since the bombings, Yelp users have posted scores of negative reviews on First American Fried Chicken's page that include Islamophobic insults and other derogatory remarks.
    In a pop-up ad on the restaurant's page, Yelp acknowledged the wave of negative reviews, warning users that some reviews may be deleted if they were "motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer's personal consumer experience with the business."