Source: Associated Press
By LARRY NEUMEISTER
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department has agreed not to conduct surveillance based on religion or ethnicity and to listen to Muslims as it develops new training materials as part of a deal to settle claims it illegally spied on Muslims for years after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The agreement announced Thursday by the city and the Islamic community also calls for the city to pay $75,000 in damages and nearly $1 million in legal fees. It also ensures surveillance in New Jersey will follow rules defined in another landmark civil rights case.
“Today’s settlement sends a message to all law enforcement: Simply being Muslim is not a basis for surveillance,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy and educational organization.
“We won this case, make no mistake about it. But as a member of the armed forces, I believe the United States won as well,” said Farhaj Hassan, a U.S. Army reservist and the lead plaintiff in the 2012 lawsuit in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.
“No one likes to take on the cops. Cops are good,” he said. “But in this case, when cops were acting bad, it had to be done.”