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NYPD Surveillance Practices Under Fire From Community

NYPD Surveillance Practices Under Fire From Community
Muslim groups and civil rights advocates announce lawsuit concerning NYPD surveillance.

A group of New York City Muslims teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union, New York Civil Liberties Union, and the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project of Main Street Legal Services at the CUNY School of Law to file a lawsuit against the NYPD.

The lawsuit was announced at a press conference Tuesday morning. It is a response to earlier reports on the practices of the NYPD’s Muslim Surveillance Program.

The surveillance practices in question include the recording of innocent conversations in restaurants, bookstores, and mosques. Paid informants also infiltrated mosques and student associations to take photos, record license plate numbers and take notes on individuals.

An NYPD official said these surveillance activities have not resulted in a single lead or terrorism investigation.  

The New York Civil Liberties Union said the individuals and groups in question are targeted based on their Muslim faith alone.

Linda Sarsour from the National Network for Arab American Communities says the surveillance threatens the freedoms of New Yorkers.

“We deserve to live in a society where we are free of targeting by law enforcement,” she said at Tuesday’s press conference. “That we live in a society that upholds the Constitution, does not try to chill our free speech, this is why we live in America.”

Plaintiffs hope the case will bring an end to the NYPD's Muslim Surveillance Program and prevent further surveillance based on religion.

City officials may move to answer the complaints of the lawsuit or dismiss the case, which would bring the suit to court.