50 Years of Protecting Dissent

May 26, 2021 @ 4:00 pm 5:15 pm

Celebrating a historic civil rights case

Fifty years ago this month, the NYCLU was part of a team that filed a lawsuit against the NYPD and its “Red Squad”. For decades the Red Squad spied on the lawful political activity of countless New Yorkers – including the Black Panther Party – chilling constitutionally protected activities and muffling dissent.

Five decades later, our case, Handschu v. Special Services Division, continues to provide critical protections against the surveillance of dissidents, protesters, and marginalized groups.

The lawyers who brought this historic lawsuit – Jethro Eisenstein, Gerald Lefcourt, Paul Chevigny, and Martin Stolar – will be joined by Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, and Jamal Joseph – one of the original plaintiffs and member of the Black Panther Party. The event will be hosted by the NYCLU's Board President, Olivier Sylvain. The panelists will discuss Handschu’s history and its implications for the future of policing in New York and across the country.

While we no doubt have a tremendous amount of work to do to defund and reimagine policing in New York, Handschu continues to be an indispensable tool for reigning in police overreach.

Please join us as we pay tribute to 50 years of protecting dissent.