Muslim on Wellbutrin, a Former CAIR Spokeswoman, Claims Gilbert PD Racially Profiled Her

Categories: News

Lisa Gopalan heard several stories of alleged racial profiling while working for the Arizona branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and now she's got one about herself.

gilbert PD badge.jpg
The former office manager and spokesperson for CAIR-AZ was pulled over by Gilbert police and arrested last month on suspicion of driving while impaired, and she thinks the incident was a case of racial profiling. After she complained to the city's mayor and police chief, the police department opened up an internal investigation based on her claims.

Gopalan tells New Times this morning, though, that while police treated her poorly in certain respects, the whole racial-profiling thing is just based on her hunch. She confirmed that she performed poorly on a field sobriety test after swerving, and says it's possible that officers believed (incorrectly) she was impaired.

"They had nothing better to do that day," she says of Gilbert officers.

The Chandler resident was on her way to Target on February 15, driving with a scarf on her head and a "big bumper sticker that says "Islam Means Peace" on the back of her car, she says.

 (Reality check: Islam means "submission," and only derives from a word meaning "peace.")

She doesn't deny swerving. But when a Chandler cop pulled her over 10 years ago for swerving while she adjusted her CD player, the cop understood, she says. Gilbert PD, however, gave her a sobriety test -- which she flunked -- and arrested her.

"I was wobbly -- I don't have great balance," Gopalan says.

She later told cops she's been taking Wellbutrin XL for a few years, but it doesn't affect her driving.

"I was not impaired in the slightest," she says. "They arrested someone for taking an anti-depressant."

Wellbutrin's Web site states that people shouldn't drive on the drug until they're "reasonably certain" they can handle it.

After Gopalan told them about the drug, cops quipped "what are you so depressed about" and that her dosage probably needed to be changed, she says. They checked her for track marks, which offended her. She looked one sergeant in the face during her booking and told him that "Gilbert just doesn't like Muslims." He didn't answer.

"I think that means that I was racially profiled," Gopalan tells New Times.

Gopalan, an aspiring nurse, says she quit CAIR's Phoenix office a few months ago because another employee hassled her. The employee complained to the office's former executive director that she "was doing a bad job and begging for money." Even though it wasn't true, Gopalan left her position.

"I feel I've been the victim of vicious lies and slander," she says.

Still, she feels CAIR-AZ will help her out in this situation because it has a new director, Ahmed Daniels, who is sympathetic to her.

The above-linked Arizona Republic story says CAIR is "monitoring" how Gilbert police handle the allegation. Reporter Nathan Gonzalez quotes Daniels as saying "Lisa's case may be the tip of the proverbial iceberg."

Which iceberg was that again?


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2 comments
Cumlaude_engineering
Cumlaude_engineering

It's true.  They arrested me and I hadn't drank anything at all. Completely sober. They claimed I failed the sobriety tests and I am an athlete.  I didn't fail any of them.  They take you down and a cops takes your blood.  They kept me till 4 am and let me go.  It is also true that before they take your blood they inject you with something.  My arm was bruised for almost 2 months.  Never charged or anything, just brutalized.  They are sick out of control jerks and I hope someone sues them.

Iwarnedyouidiots
Iwarnedyouidiots

It's not just muslims, Gilbert Police are Nazis to everyone.  They pull people over who are totally sober for no reason.  They pass the field sobriety tests perfectly and when the driver requests to blow into the breathalizer the cops refuse.  They ALWAYS arrest the person claiming that he flunked the tests, which is a total lie, because their objective is to get everyone into the police station so they can jam needles into your arm..Yes, the cops hold you down and jam you with needles.  They shoot something into you then they stick another needle in to draw blood.  They don't label the blood because it's probably never going to leave the station. They lie about everything and are sick evil bastards.

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