Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Revised Settlement Agreement Reached In Suits On NYPD Surveillance of Muslims

The ACLU on Monday announced a revised settlement agreement in two cases involving the New York Police Department's surveillance of Muslims. As previously reported, last November a federal district court judge rejected an initial settlement agreement's modifications of the so-called Handschu Guidelines that grew out of a consent decree in an earlier case on NYPD surveillance activities. The agreement announced Monday responds to the judge's concerns.  The ACLU describes the changes as follows:
Under the new enhancements, the civilian representative has even greater authority, independence, and responsibility. She is empowered to report to the court at any time if there are violations of the Handschu Guidelines, is required to report systematic violations, and must report to the court on an annual basis. The mayor is prohibited from abolishing the civilian representative position without judicial approval, and abolition by order of the court is only permitted if there have not been systemic violations of the Handschu Guidelines for the preceding three years. The civilian representative is specifically authorized to review not just the opening or extension of investigations, but also how they are conducted. In addition, the civilian representative will review the propriety of the use of undercover officers or confidential informants — a source of great concern to communities.