Sunday, April 08, 2018

Settlement Reached With NYPD In Muslim Surveillance Case

Last week, a settlement agreement (filed in New Jersey federal district court on April 5) (full text) was reached in Hassan v. City of New York. As reported by the New York Times, this settles the last of three major lawsuits challenging the New York City Police Department's surveillance of the Muslim community following 9/11. This suit was brought by Muslims in New Jersey who had been subjects of surveillance.  The 3rd Circuit had refused to dismiss, holding that plaintiffs had adequately stated free exercise and equal protection claims (See prior posting.)  A press release from Muslim Advocates summarizes agreement:
Under the terms of the settlement, the NYPD has confirmed it will reform its discriminatory and unlawful practices by agreeing to:
  • Not engage in suspicionless surveillance on the basis of religion or ethnicity;
  • Permit plaintiff input to a first-ever Policy Guide, which will govern the Intelligence Bureau’s activities, and to publish the Guide to the public;
  • Attend a public meeting with plaintiffs so they can express their concerns about the issues in the lawsuit directly to the NYPD Commissioner or senior ranking official;
  • Pay businesses and mosques damages for income lost as a result of being unfairly targeted by the NYPD and pay individuals damages for the stigma and humiliation harms they suffered for being targeted on the basis of their religion.