ELIZABETH — The family of bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami accused this city and a neighboring business owner of anti-Muslim discrimination against them and their fried chicken restaurant.

Rahami was arrested Monday morning after a shootout with police in Linden. He was wanted in connection to the bombings in Seaside Park and Manhttan on Saturday. Police raided Rahami's apartment above the restaurant Monday morning after another bomb exploded at the city's Midtown train station.

Bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami (FBI)
Bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami (FBI)

Mayor Christian Bollwage said Rahami was a relative of the business owner, who has been the subject of multiple nuisance complaints.

In 2009, two of the business owner's sons were arrested after they argued with police who issued the business a citation for staying open past 10 p.m.

Mohammad R. Rahami, owner of First American Fried Chicken, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in 2011 claiming the city, its police officers and James Dean McDermott, owner of Dean Relay Press and Radio on Linden Avenue, targeted him and sons Mohammad K. Rahami Jr. and Mohammad Q. Rahami because they were Muslim.

The lawsuit claims McDermott repeatedly called police on the business and told the owner and his sons that “Muslims make too much trouble in this country" and “Muslims should not have businesses here.”

The bombing suspect was not named in the lawsuit.

Ahmad Khan Rahami was already known to police and the courts in the state. New Jersey 101.5 on Monday reported that he was arrested in 2014 on aggravated assault and weapons charges and in 2012 for violating a domestic violence restraining order. The charges were downgraded and dismissed.

The lawsuit says the restaurant was cited several times for violating the business curfew ordinance but the violations were repeatedly dismissed in court because the city ordinance exempted restaurants that serve food to be eaten on the premises.

Police reportedly told the family that their eatery was in an area that  was "a known place for criminal activity."

After their arrest in 2009, Mohammad Q. Rahami was released without being charged. Rahami Jr. was charged with preventing police from performing his duty.

McDermott could not be reached for comment Monday.

The lawsuit continues to drag on. The attorney originally representing the restaurant dropped out of the case. Documents sent to the address of one of the sons was returned undeliverable, court records show.

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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.


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