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Settlement in Third Lawsuit Accusing NYPD of Illegal Spying on Muslims

The New York Police Department settled another lawsuit involving widespread surveillance of Muslim communities in New York, New Jersey, and beyond. The spying program, which spanned a decade and targeted hundreds of individuals, businesses, and mosques, failed to produce a single, actionable lead in a criminal investigation.

It did, however, consist of several constitutional violations, which the NYPD has promised to correct under the settlement, as well as compensate victims monetarily. You can read the full settlement, along with the allegations, below.

Discriminatory Spying

According to the AP's reporting in 2011, the NYPD established a sprawling human mapping and surveillance program targeting Muslim communities, allegedly spying on at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools, and two Muslim Student Associations in New Jersey. The program included video surveillance, photographing license plates, community mapping, and infiltration by undercover officers and informants at places of worship, student associations, and businesses.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit "plausibly alleged that the city engaged in intentional discrimination," and the two parties moved on to settlement talks. (The NYPD had already settled two prior cases based on the same conduct.)

Department Settlement

As part of the settlement, senior NYPD officials will attend a public meeting with the plaintiffs, and give them a chance to propose revisions to a policy guide that governs how the police may investigate political and religious activity. The NYPD will also make reasonable efforts to expunge certain information pertaining to Muslim communities in New Jersey that the Intelligence Division gathered, and the city will pay 10 businesses, mosques, student groups, and individuals amounts ranging from $1,250 to $22,500 to compensate them for stigma, harm, and lost income because of being unfairly targeted for surveillance.

You can read the settlement in full, here:

Syed Farhaj Hassan v. The City of New York - Stip of Settlement by FindLaw on Scribd