Zahra Munye Abu, the first Somali Muslim immigrant to serve on the police force in Portland, Maine, has been charged with five misdemeanors, including disturbing the peace, trespassing, resisting arrest, assault and battery, and disorderly conduct after her arrest on Saturday at a night-time concern in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The 26-year-old Abu is accused of creating a disturbance while attending a concert featuring singers Ja Rule and Ashanti at the Palladium Nightclub on Main Street, according to Worcester police spokesperson Sgt. Kerry F. Hazelhurst. At the concert, Abu was given several opportunities to leave that she refused. She was therefore arrested. Arraingment was on Wednesday.

After graduating Deering High School in 2011, Zahra Munye Abu studies criminal justice and women-and-gender issues and then joined the force in Portland. According to Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck, Abu is now on administrative leave with pay pending a review of the incident. The Portland Police Department is treating the issue as a personnel matter and is refusing further comment.

On Sunday at 1 a.m., Abu made bail and was released. 

Because Abu is the first member of Maine’s Somali immigrant community to become a police officer in Maine, she enjoyed some celebrity. Born to Somali parents in a refugee camp in Kenya, Abu had lived in Portland since she was 2 years old. Abu faces a maximum penalty of up to 2 and a half years in a county jail on the assault and battery and the resisting arrest charges, if convicted. Each of the other charges include less severe maximum penalties.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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