Muslim Leaders Settle Lawsuit with NYPD in Resounding Win for Equal Constitutional Protection

Posted on April 13, 2018

 The Guardian reports that last week a settlement was reached in a lawsuit against the New York Police Department in which lawyers representing New Jersey-area Muslim community leaders won significant concessions from the defendant. The suit, filed jointly by Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights, addresses unconstitutional surveillance conducted in Newark, NJ by the NYPD which involved officers infiltrating mosques and other Muslim community organizations.

Though the department’s monitoring of New Jersey Muslims spanned from 2002 to at least 2012, according to the NYPD’s own records, the operation failed to produced any actionable leads on potentially violent extremist or criminal activity.

As per the settlement’s stipulations, the NYPD has disbanded its “demographics unit” responsible for the discriminatory surveillance, and has vowed not to conduct any such operations in New Jersey going forward, as it has already pledged for New York. The NYPD will also draft new intelligence gathering guidelines and submit them to the plaintiffs for approval prior to department implementation as part of the agreement.

This settlement, between one of American society’s most vulnerable communities and the nation’s most powerful local police force, constitutes a resounding victory for civil liberties, as the NYPD must contractually go to great lengths to ensure that such discriminatory policing is not repeated. Additionally, it sets a precedent by which law enforcement runs serious risk of financial repercussions–the NYPD was obligated to pay out tens of thousands of dollars in damages and almost $1 million in plaintiffs’ legal fees–and stringent civilian oversight if they run afoul of core constitutional protections resulting from religious or racial profiling.

You can read the full story from The Guardian here.