FILE – In this Aug. 18, 2011 file photo, people walk below a New York Police Department security camera, upper left, which was placed next to a mosque on Fulton Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York. Civil rights lawyers are telling a judge that the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslim communities violates federal guidelines established to stop the NYPD from conducting political surveillance. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Civil rights lawyers urged a judge Monday to stop the New York Police Department from routinely observing Muslims in restaurants, bookstores and mosques, saying the practice violates a landmark 1985 court settlement that restricted the kind of surveillance used against war protesters in the 1960s and ’70s.
The city responded by saying it follows the law, but some legal experts say it might be time to look more closely at police practices as the Sept. 11 attacks fade into history.
“This filing is coming at the same time that I think Americans in general are beginning to see their way past the 9/11 era and the fears that engendered,” said Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School.
The court papers in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seek a court order against additional surveillance of Muslims without evidence of crimes and a new court-appointed auditor to oversee police activities that were “flagrant and persistent.”
The civil rights lawyers complained that the NYPD has monitored public places where Muslims eat, shop and worship and has kept records and notes about their observations despite any evidence of unlawful or terror-related activities. The NYPD’s actions violate rules, Login to read more