The state of Maine’s first Somali Muslim immigrant police officer has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested for a multitude of charges, including assault, at a Ja Rule concert.
Zahra Munye Abu, a 24-year-old who arrived in the U.S. with her parents from Kenya, was heralded by the Portland, Maine media this month for becoming the first Somali immigrant to join Portland’s Police Department. But, on Tuesday, the Portland Press Herald confirmed that Abu had been arrested in Worcester, Massachusetts at a concert.
According to the Worcester Police Department, Abu was arrested at the Ja Rule and Ashanti concert at the Palladium Nightclub and charged with assault, battery, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and trespassing.
Worcester Police Sgt. Kerry F. Hazelhurst told the Portland Press Herald, “The nightclub was hosting several live musical acts. She was [given] several opportunities to leave and refused. Eventually, she was placed under arrest.”
Now, Abu has been placed on administrative leave with pay as the incident is investigated. Should Abu be convicted of the misdemeanor charges, she will face a maximum sentence of two and a half years in Worcester County Jail.
Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck previously said Abu was one of “the best” officers at the Portland Police Department, championing diversity.
Sauschuck said previously, “There’s no question that we want to be as diverse as our communities, but we will only hire the best, and I do believe she is one of them. I hire good human beings and then we make police officers from them.”
Fatuma Hussein, the executive director of the United Somali Women of Maine, previously called Abu a “role model.”
“She is the symbol of creating a trust relationship, bringing our community closer to law enforcement. I think she is the symbol of building bridges and forging relationships,” Hussein told the Portland Press Herald. “She will be getting a lot of phone calls. She needs to be ready for that. She’ll be getting knocks on her door.”