The New York City police department launched an aggressive surveillance program to monitor Muslims in New York City following the 9/11 terrorist attacks which spurred controversies.
The New York City police department launched an aggressive surveillance program to monitor Muslims in New York City following the 9/11 terrorist attacks which spurred controversies. (Photo source: New York Times)

The New York City Police department is set to go for a new deal after they faced lawsuit claiming that the city law enforcers were illegally targeting Muslims for surveillance. The court papers that were filed on Monday indicated that a federal judge rejected the previous deal. Under the new settlement, more power is given to the civilian representative who will be in charge of reviewing the steps taken by NYPD as a part of its counter-terrorism program. The legal director of New York City Liberties Union Arthur Eisenberg has explained the new settlement as more protective towards the political and religious freedom of people.

Muslim organizations as well as individuals are being represented by the civil liberties organization who sued the city of New York back in 2013 claiming that they were being subjected to police surveillance which was illegal. The legal actions forced the New York police to go for a settlement that would limit their surveillance activities although the first settlement was not sufficient to force the NYPD to follow regulations specified by the court when it comes to limiting their monitoring activities as far as religious and political issues are concerned.

The latest deal is yet to get approval from Charles Haight, the US District Judge who is overseeing a very old class action which led to the Handschu guidelines that limits the authorities of the law enforcement agencies as far as their surveillance activities are concerned. The new settlement will also require the New York Mayor to secure a court approval to remove the civilian representative. Under the earlier settlement the mayor could eliminate that position after 5 years.

After the Twin Tower terrorist attacks on 9/11, the New York Police Department took a highly aggressive surveillance program deploying undercover police officers in the Muslim organizations and neighborhoods. The program was sharply criticized by the civil rights advocates. Mayor Bill de Blasio ended the program as soon as he took office back in 2014.

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