NYPD accused of continued surveillance on Muslims despite court orders to stop
Washington, Feb. 5 : New York Police Department (NYPD) counter-terrorism officers are breaking court orders and spying on mosques and Muslim student organizations in New York City, civil rights lawyers have charged in new court papers.
The lawyers asked a Manhattan Federal Court judge to appoint an independent monitor to ensure compliance with so-called Handschu guidelines that limit police surveillance of political groups.
The NYPD has been spying on the Muslim community for years 'using intrusive methods, without a reasonable indication of unlawful activity or a criminal predicate of any sort', Jethro Eisenstein, a New York University law professor and one of five attorneys on the Handschu case, said.
According to the New York Daily News, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said that 'the department adhered to the Constitution in all it does, and specifically the Handschu guidelines in the deployment of undercover officers to help thwart plots against New York City and to identify individuals engaged in support of terrorism'.
Browne said that since the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, terrorists have tried to attack New York City on 16 different occasions that the department knows of, including plots to attack everything from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Federal Reserve Bank and to kill American soldiers returning home to New York, the report said.
The guidelines grew out a 1971 lawsuit filed by Barbara Handschu and others accusing the NYPD's notorious Red Squad of spying on supposed radicals and collaborating in anti-Communist witchhunts, it added.