RALEIGH, N.C. — A longtime law enforcement official in North Carolina and Virginia was detained for an hour and a half earlier this month because of his name.
Former Greenville Police Chief Hassan Aden recalled the situation in a Facebook post on Saturday.
Aden, a United States citizen of 42 years, was visiting his mother in Paris for her 80th birthday and flying back to the states when he was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection when he landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on March 13.
Typically, he has no trouble while traveling between flights and enjoys the “welcome home sir” greetings.
But things were different that day as he was asked to take a walk with a CBP officer before being taken to a storage facility for questioning.
“I was taken to a back office which looked to be a re-purposed storage facility with three desks and signs stating, ‘Remain seated at all times’ and ‘Use of telephones strictly prohibited’ – my first sign that this was not a voluntary situation and, in fact, a detention,” he writes.
After explaining that he was a career police officer, one CBP officer explained the situation to him — which revolved around his name.
“He explained that my name was used as an alias by someone on some watch list,” he wrote in the post. “He stated that he sent my information to another agency to de-conflict and clear me so that I could gain passage into the United States….my own country!!!”
In total, he was detained for about an hour and a half. During his retention, Aden asked several times, “how long of a detention do you consider to be reasonable?”
After being release, he left feeling uncertain about his future, the future of his family and the nation at large.
“This experience has left me feeling vulnerable and unsure of the future of a country that was once great and that I proudly called my own. This experience makes me question if this is indeed home. My freedoms were restricted, and I cannot be sure it won’t happen again, and that it won’t happen to my family, my children, the next time we travel abroad. This country now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a country that is isolating itself from the rest of the world – and its own people – in an unprecedented fashion. High levels of hate and injustice have been felt in vulnerable communities for decades — it is now hitting the rest of America.”
The post has more than 5,800 likes and 5,900 shares.