Maine’s first Somali immigrant police officer was arrested Saturday outside of a rap concert in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Zahra Munye Abu, a 24-year-old female officer from the Portland Police Department, was charged with numerous misdemeanors, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Worcester police Sgt. Kerry F. Hazelhurst stated that Abu caused a disturbance while attending a Ja Rule and Ashanti concert at Main Street’s Palladium Nightclub.
“The nightclub was hosting several live musical acts,” Hazelhurst told the Press Herald. “She was (given) several opportunities to leave and refused. Eventually she was placed under arrest.”
The officer’s charges, 5 misdemeanors in total, include assault and battery, trespassing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.
Hazelhurst added that Abu, who is set to be arraigned in Worcester District Court Wednesday, was bailed out of jail at 1 a.m. Sunday.
Abu’s superior, Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck, confirmed he was aware of the arrest.
“The Portland Police Department was notified late Saturday night of the arrest of Police Officer Zahra Abu in Worcester, Massachusetts,” Sauschuck told the Press Herald. “This issue will be dealt with as a personnel matter from this point forward, so I will have no further comment.”
Sauchuck said Abu has since been placed on administrative leave with pay while the incident is investigated.
Born to Somali parents in Kenya, Abu, who came to the United States at the age of 2, could face up to 2.5 years in jail if convicted.
The Portland Police Department received widespread praise in 2016 upon hiring Abu, whom Sauschuck described at the time as “the best.”
Abu’s arrest comes after the Minneapolis Police Department’s first Somali police officer, Mohamed Noor, shot and killed 40-year-old Australian woman Justine Damond in 2017 after she dialed 911 to report a crime.
Both officers’ actions follow a slew of high-profile incidents across the country by Somali natives. An 20-year-old Somali last year stabbed two men at the Mall of America while 11 people were injured in 2016 after an 18-year-old Somali plowed his vehicle into a crowd at Ohio State University before attacking others with a butcher knife.