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NYCLU in the News

Oct
13
2011
Told to Leave Park, Wall St. Protesters Begin Pre-emptive Cleanup

Young people in knit hats and jeans scurried around Thursday wielding brooms and trash bags, moving mountains of sleeping bags, backpacks and jackets out of the way...While demonstrators tried to tidy up the park Thursday — at one point a power washer was obtained, but there was no water available to pump through it — Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, called on City Hall officials to try to reach a deal with the protesters. And the New York Civil Liberties Union issued a statement, saying: “The city must not use the cleanup as a pretext for mass arrests. To do so would be a violation of the spirit of the First Amendment and the spirit of dissent.”  View original item...

Oct
13
2011
Working Families Party on Displacing Occupy Wall Street Protestors to Clean Park: It's a Trap!

Mayor Bloomberg has said protesters will have to move their Zuccotti Park campgrounds temporarily tomorrow so workers can get in there and clean, but the Working Families Party is raising a horror-movie-like warning to the demonstrators: Look Out! It's a trap!...And the New York Civil Liberties Union: “If the city is drawing a line in the sand over cleaning the park and refuses to accept the reasonable offers by protesters to do a clean up, then the recent statements by the mayor and police commissioner about protecting the right to protest were disingenuous. The city must not use the clean up as a pretext for mass arrests. To do so would be a violation of the spirit of the First Amendment and the spirit of dissent.”  View original item...

Oct
11
2011
NY City Councilman Says Feds Should Provide NYPD Counterterrorism Oversight

When the Associated Press' story on the CIA-assisted NYPD surveillance program targetingthe city's Muslim enclaves first broke in August, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.dismissed concerns about oversight out of hand, telling WNYC that "We have done extensive oversight of the NYPD’s terror activities and that oversight includes confidential briefings by the commissioner to myself... So they left all of that out of the article.” Since then, the AP has done several pieces following up on its original reporting—prompting some harsh questioning of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly in a recent city council meeting and a lawsuit from the New York Civil Liberties Union. Now Vallone is saying that the City Council actually can't oversee the NYPD.  View original item...

Oct
9
2011
Video from Protesters and Cops Plays Big Role at Occupy Wall Street

Cops and protesters alike should be ready for their close-up -- 24/7. …Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said she feared that police could use facial recognition software to track the city’s demonstrators.  View original item...

Oct
7
2011
NYCLU to City: Let Educators Handle School Discipline

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative, which was announced in August, identifies problems afflicting too many young men of color: high suspension and arrest rates, and low graduation and employment rates. But the mayor’s proposed reforms ignore the fact that many of the challenges City Hall seeks to address are exacerbated — if not caused — by some of his own administration’s policing and education policies.  View original item...

Oct
6
2011
Occupy Wall Street Lands in Private Park. Now What?

Many of the Occupy Wall Street protesters might not realize it, but they got really lucky when they elected to gather at Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan.."The good news," according to Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of New York Civil Liberties Union, "is that the police are taking a pretty accommodating approach to the park itself, and that has help avoid confrontation this far."  View original item...

Oct
6
2011
Kelly Faces Questioning over Alleged Spying on Muslims

City Councilman Daniel Dromm tried to drive home his concerns to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly Thursday at an oversight hearing about published reports and documents that seem to show the New York City Police Department is targeting certain ethnicities..Representatives from the New York Civil Liberties Union asked a federal Judge Monday to force the NYPD to release information on its surveillance of Muslims to see if it's spying and violating the law. "The NYPD has been spying on entire neighborhoods based solely on who lives there and what their religious beliefs are,” said Udi Ofer of the NYCLU. "We know the NYPD is watching us: the question is, who is watching the NYPD?"  View original item...

Oct
5
2011
NYCLU News Column: #OccupyWallStreet and the First Amendment

The "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations against capitalism have morphed into police controversies with the arrest of about 700 people on the Brooklyn Bridge last Saturday and the Union Square pepper-spray incident the weekend before. But the ongoing occupation of Zuccotti Park—dubbed "Liberty Square" by the protesters—in the financial district remains the center of the burgeoning protest and raises interesting constitutional issues about New York City's ability to control activity in the park, including protesters sleeping there.  View original item...

Oct
4
2011
NYCLU Wants Details on NYPD, CIA Spying on Muslims

In late August, the Associated Press published an exposé about the NYPD's partnership with the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on Muslims in NYC. Unsurprisingly, the NYCLU is challenging the partnership in court, and yesterday filed a motion to determine whether the spying operation violates an existing court order—the Handschu Guidelines, which are named after a 1971 plaintiff in a lawsuit against the NYPD accusing them of violating the constitution while investigating political groups.  View original item...

Oct
4
2011
NYCLU Wants NYPD to Turn Over Documents Related to Spying on Muslims

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed court papers yesterday demanding the NYPD turn over documents related to its controversial counterterrorism program that put Muslims under surveillance.The organization says the intelligence gathering violates internal NYPD rules known as the Handschu guidelines for investigating political or religious groups....The recent surveillance “raises serious questions concerning whether the Police Department has violated court-ordered restrictions on its ability to spy on and keep dossiers on individuals,” said NYCLU Legal Director Arthur Eisenberg.  View original item...

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