Tremon Muhammad (Photo Credit: Birmingham Police Department)
Thirty-five people were arrested last week in Birmingham, Alabama, in an undercover prostitution sting dubbed "Operation Red Light." Among those detained was Tremon Muhammad, 36, a minister with the National of Islam, Louis Farrakhan's controversial religious denomination.
Muhammad, like many of the others, was detained for solicitation of a prostitute. In the wake of the scandal, the imam's lawyer, Charles Salvagio, is claiming that something doesn't seem quite right about the arrest and the associated charges. In fact, he called the situation "fishy," but didn't elaborate during an interview with WBRC-TV.
In a separate address, the lawyer went further in his assessment, defending his client and dismissing the claims against him.
"I can tell you unequivocally, he is not guilty," he said last week. "Anyone who knows the minister knows this is the last thing in the world he would do."
In a November 8 news report, WBRC explained "Operation Red Light" in detail:
Police conducted an undercover sting operation this week to crack down on prostitution in the Woodlawn area of north Birmingham.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Birmingham narcotics officers went undercover to get prostitutes and johns off the street. They focused on the area of 1st Avenue North between 41st Street and 80th Street.
Over the three day sting, police arrested 35 people. Some of the charges include prostitution and a few suspects were picked up on felony charges.
As for Muhammad, his lawyer's "fishy" claim may have something to do with the fact that the faith leader has a history of speaking out against alleged police brutality. The minister is apparently known for attending anti-violence rallies across Birmingham and, in 2011, he was a vocal supporter of a man who was purportedly beaten by police.
Muhammad, a student minister at Muhammad Mosque 69, even led a campaign to have the officers who were caught on video purportedly needlessly beating the man fired. He publicly called for an independent commission, too, including members of National of Islam, that was intended to investigate the case.
Video of that beating can be seen below (caution: violence):
"I hope this arrest has nothing to do with the beating case," Salvagio added last week.
Only time will tell if the charges against the minister were manufactured or legitimate. It seems his lawyer will likely be exploring whether Muhammad's vocal speech aimed at cops resulted in the aforementioned arrest.