After Spying on Muslims, New York Police Agree to Greater Oversight

Source: The New York Times

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A restaurant on Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens, in an area known as Little Morocco was under surveillance by the New York City Police Department. CreditUli Seit for The New York Times

The New York Police Department has agreed to even greater oversight of its intelligence-gathering programs as it tries, for the second time, to settle a lawsuit over its surveillance of Muslims.

A federal judge rejected a settlement in October, saying it did not go far enough to address the city’s “systemic inclination” to ignore rules protecting free speech and religion. Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. said the settlement did not sufficiently protect the rights of “law-abiding Muslims and believers in Islam who live, move and have their being in this city.”

Lawyers returned on Monday to the Federal District Court in Manhattan with a new proposal that gives more power to a civilian monitor, who would now have the authority to raise questions about continuing investigations and report any possible problems to the court. The monitor, a civilian lawyer to be appointed by the mayor, would also file annual reports to the court describing any objections to investigations.

The proposed settlement would restore safeguards that were stripped away after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The city argued that outside oversight of its intelligence-gathering made the city less safe. At the time, Judge Haight agreed.

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