Second judge approves settlement on NYPD Muslim surveillance

The ACLU notes that the settlement includes these provisions:

— Prohibiting investigations in which race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin is a substantial or motivating factor.

— Requiring articulable and factual information regarding possible unlawful activity before the NYPD can launch a preliminary investigation into political or religious activity.

— Requiring the NYPD to account for the potential effect of investigative techniques on constitutionally protected activities such as religious worship and political meetings.

— Limiting the NYPD’s use of undercover and confidential informants to situations in which the information sought cannot reasonably be obtained in a timely and effective way by less intrusive means.

— Putting an end to open-ended investigations by imposing presumptive time limits and requiring reviews of ongoing investigations every six months.

— Installing a civilian representative within the NYPD with the power and obligation to ensure all safeguards are followed and to serve as a check on investigations directed at political and religious activities. The civilian representative must record and report any violations to the police commissioner, who must investigate violations and report back to the civilian representative. If violations are systematic, the civilian representative must report them directly to the judge in the Handschu case.

— Removing from the NYPD website the discredited and unscientific Radicalization in the West report, which justified discriminatory surveillance, and affirming that the report is not and will not be relied upon to open or prolong NYPD investigations.

— The civilian representative is empowered to report to the court at any time if there are violations of the Handschu guidelines, is required to report to the court if there are systematic violations, and is required to report to the court on an annual basis.

— The mayor is prohibited from abolishing the civilian representative position without judicial approval, and abolition by order of the court is only permitted if there have not been systemic violations for a period of three years.

— The civilian representative is specifically authorized to review not just the opening or extension of investigations, but also how they are conducted. In addition, the civilian representative is specifically authorized to review the propriety of the use or extension of use of undercover officers or confidential informants.

The plaintiffs in the Raza case in addition to Imam Raza are Asad Dandia, Masjid Al-Ansar mosque, the charity Muslims Giving Back, Masjid At-Taqwa mosque, and Mohammad Elshinawy.

In addition to Hina Shamsi, Ramzi Kassem, and Art Eisenberg, lawyers on the Raza case include Ashley Gorski and Patrick Toomey of the ACLU, Naz Ahmad and Tarek Z. Ismail of CLEAR, Beth Haroules of the NYCLU, Hector Gallegos, Kyle Mooney, and Adam Hunt of Morrison & Foerster LLP.

See a comparison document filed in the Raza case showing changes to the 2003 Handschu guidelines based on the most recent agreement. See a document filed in the Handschu case explaining the changes to the guidelines. See more information on the case and plaintiffs.