NYPD Faces Lawsuit Over Massive Surveillance of Muslims by Demographics Unit

NYPD official's admitted no lead was ever connected to an actual terrorist plot


at the wtc mosque protest, counter-protest

The ACLU is suing the New York Police Department over the massive surveillance of Muslims in New York City and the greater New York area revealed by a Pulitzer Prize winning AP report in 2011. The NYPD, according to the AP's reporting, has been acting as "one of the most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies in the country," with help from as far up as the CIA. Subsequent reporting by the AP showed the NYPD's operations, run under the Demographics Unit, were funded with the help of federal money from the White House. Tactics deployed included informants "baiting" Muslims to "create and capture" terror talk. Nevertheless, the chief of the NYPD intelligence division admitted in court testimony last year that the surveillance unit never produced any leads connected to actual terrorist plots.

The ACLU says it is suing because:

This discriminatory profiling and the harms it has caused our clients violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, and the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion and guarantee of government neutrality toward religion. Our suit asks the court to end the NYPD's Muslim surveillance program and to prevent future surveillance based solely or predominantly on religion in the absence of individualized suspicion of criminal activity. It also seeks to expunge the records of all of our clients created because of the program, and to appoint a monitor to ensure that New York City truly ends all of the unconstitutional practices inherent in its religious surveillance efforts. We hope the court recognizes that suspicionless and discriminatory surveillance based on nothing more than religious identity has no place in New York, or anywhere else.

The ACLU also offers profiles of some of the targets of the surveillance on whose behalf they are suing.

The NYPD is in the midst of a separate lawsuit about racial profiling and the stop and frisk program, on which the Obama administration chimed in at the last minute, saying it would prefer an independent monitor if the department's found to be acting unconstitutionally.