Thursday, June 07, 2012

Suit Challenges NYPD Surveillance of Muslim Communities

Yesterday, a group of Muslim organizations, Muslim-owned businesses and individuals filed suit in federal district court in New Jersey to challenge the New York Police Department's program of secretly infiltrating and monitoring Muslim religious institutions, schools, businesses, associations, and congregations around New York City. The complaint (full text) in Hassan v. City of New York, (D NJ, filed 6/6/2012), charges that the NYPD program impermissibly discriminates against plaintiffs because of their religion and intentionally denigrates Islam:
The NYPD Program is founded upon a false and constitutionally impermissible premise: that Muslim religious identity is a legitimate criterion for selection of law-enforcement surveillance targets, or that it is a permissible proxy for criminality, and that the Muslim community can therefore be subject to pervasive surveillance not visited upon any other religious group or the public at large.
The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment, an injunction against continuation of the program and asks that all records of plaintiffs made through unlawful spying be expunged. It also asks for nominal damages and attorneys' fees. Muslim Advocates issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.  The Wall Street Journal reports on the lawsuit.

UPDATE: An amended complaint was filed on Oct. 3, 2012. Center for Constitutional Rights has links to subsequent pleadings in the case.