September 30, 2013

Tomorrow, Federal District Court Judge Charles S. Haight will hear arguments in the long-running class action lawsuit governing New York City Police Department surveillance of First Amendment activity, asking him to enjoin the NYPD’s program of surveillance of Muslim communities in New York and elsewhere in the absence of suspected criminal activity. The motion, made in February 2013, contends these NYPD activities violate court-ordered guidelines, and asks the court to appoint a monitor to ensure compliance with the guidelines.

What: Argument in federal court to end NYPD surveillance of the Muslim community
When: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 10:30 a.m.
Where: U.S. Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, Courtroom 23B, New York, NY

The motion in the longstanding federal case, Handschu v. Special Services Division, seeks to stop the NYPD from creating dossiers on innocent Muslims. The NYPD denies the claim, asserting that it “complies with the requirements of the guidelines…”

As documented in press reports, the NYPD has built a program dedicated to the surveillance of Muslims, with officers routinely monitoring restaurants, bookstores and mosques. Detailed records of innocent conversations officers have had or overheard have also been documented. The NYPD has also sent paid infiltrators into mosques and student associations to take photos, write down license plate numbers, and keep notes on people for no reason other than because they are Muslim.

In new disclosures in August, the Associated Press reported the NYPD designated several mosques as “terrorism enterprises” so as to have wide latitude to conduct surveillance of anyone who came in contact with the mosques.

The civil rights class is represented by Paul G. Chevigny of NYU Law School, Jethro M. Eisenstein, Martin R. Stolar, Franklin Siegel, and Arthur Eisenberg, Legal Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. The police department is represented by Peter G. Farrell of the Special Federal Litigation Unit of the New York City Law Department.