RIMANEWS - The New York Police Department's focus on Muslims has renewed the political surveillance of the 1960s and `70s that was banned under a landmark legal ruling, according to a new court filing by civil rights lawyers.
The lawyers are seeking an injunction against further surveillance of Muslims without evidence of crimes and a new court-appointed auditor to oversee police activities.
Describing continuing surveillance of Muslims as "widespread and intense," the civil rights lawyers complained that the NYPD has monitored public places where Muslims eat, shop and worship and has kept records and notes about police observations despite any evidence of unlawful or terror-related activities.
The lawyers said the NYPD's actions violate rules, known as the Handschu guidelines, that a court had imposed as part of a 1985 landmark settlement with the NYPD to a lawsuit they filed.
"There is substantial persuasive evidence that the defendants are conducting investigations into organizations and individuals associated with the Muslim faith and the Muslim community in New York, and have been doing so for years, using intrusive methods, without a reasonable indication of unlawful activity, or a criminal predicate of any sort," the lawyers wrote in a motion to be filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
They said the NYPD's actions were so "flagrant and persistent" that an auditor should be appointed. AP
The NYPD made headlines in 2011 when Associated Press published reports on NYPD's spying on Muslims in New York City and neighboring New Jersey. Muslims were spied in mosques, restaurants, streets, public places, and Muslim groups &and websites were scrutinized.
An investigation carried out by the Associated Press has found that, after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, the NYPD dispatched undercover officers, known as 'rakers,' into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, using “unprecedented” help from the CIA.
Records showed that police paid special attention to grocery stores that carried halal or kosher food products, eavesdropped on Muslim-owned stores, cafes and hair salons, placed Mosques under surveillance during Friday prayers, and even went so far as to photograph an elementary school for Muslim girls. RT
The report added that the NYPD has employed intelligence agents, known as “mosque crawlers,” to spy on Muslims and “monitor sermons, even when there's no evidence of wrongdoing.
A George Washington University law professor, Jonathan Turley, said it would be a challenge to convince the government that the NYPD’s practices were illegal because the courts and Congress have allowed more and more surveillance in the years since 9/11. Madison Press