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Muslims Claim They're Targets of Unfair Surveillance by NYPD

Civil rights lawyers allege that the New York Police Department has been using unlawful tactics in its counterterrorism efforts.
By Annie Lubin
First Publish: 2/5/2013, 3:44 AM

An inquiry into the NYPD's counterterrorism tactics is likely to take place
An inquiry into the NYPD's counterterrorism tactics is likely to take place
Reuters

The New York Police Department will soon find itself at the receiving end of an independent inquiry, alleging that the police department has been using unlawful tactics in its counterterrorism efforts. 

Civil rights lawyers are getting set to file papers at the Federal District Court House in New York on Monday and will ask a judge to appoint an independent monitor to review the NYPD, who they claim have unjustly placed Muslim communities under surveillance, The New York Times reports. 

“The NYPD is continuing a massive, all-encompassing dragnet for intelligence concerning anything connected with Muslim activity through intrusive infiltration and record-keeping about all aspects of life, politics and worship,” the court filing states. “The NYPD operates on a theory that conservative Muslim beliefs and participation in Muslim organizations are themselves bases for investigation.”

Lawyers allege that the NYPD's Intelligence Division has targeted innocent Muslims and that plainclothes officers have infiltrated Muslim institutions and businesses. 

“The N.Y.P.D. has deceived this court and counsel, as well as the public, concerning the character and scope of its activities in violation of the guidelines,” the legal filing states.

Following the terror attacks on Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a federal judge relaxed a set of guidelines from 1985 to allow officers more leverage in infiltrating possible terror cells and uncovering threats to the security of the state. 

The reforms gave police the power to investigate a political group for criminal activity without having to notify an oversight panel. 

They also allowed police to visit religious and political institutions and attend events without receiving clearance. 

However, the lawyers allege that the NYPD went too far in allowing certain behavior which targeted the Muslim community. 

Federal Judge Charles S. Haight Jr, who relaxed the regulations in 2011, will now be tasked with determining if the officers acted within the law or took their powers too far.