Important datesMarch 31, 2016
1140 Fulton Street Brooklyn, NY
April 2, 2016
25-15 Steinway Street Queens, NY
April 3, 2016
Parkchester Jame Masjid 1203 Virginia
April 19, 2016: fairness hearing to be held at 10:00 AM, Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY. Judge Haight will be presiding.
Raza v. City of New york
While unwarranted police surveillance of Muslim communities pre-dated August 2011, press reports at that time described shockingly broad NYPD surveillance of Muslim communities in New York City and beyond. Various organizations and individuals came together to coordinate responses.
CLEAR joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). In June 2013, attorneys at the organizations above filed Raza v. City of New York, on behalf of a number of institutional and individual plaintiffs, arguing that discriminatory NYPD surveillance violates the U.S. and New York State Constitutions. We were later joined by the private law firm of Morrison & Foerster.
The lawsuit built upon work CLEAR had done in collaboration with The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund on the report Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and Its Impact on American Muslims. That report documents the devastating impacts of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) extensive surveillance program that targeted American Muslims throughout the Northeast and spread outrage throughout the nation.
The NYPD's program, dedicated to the total surveillance of Muslims in the greater New York City area, operated under the unconstitutional premise that Muslim beliefs and practices are a basis for law enforcement scrutiny. The NYPD mapped Muslim communities and their religious, educational, and social institutions and businesses in New York City (and beyond). It deployed NYPD officers and informants to infiltrate mosques and other institutions to monitor the conversations of Muslim New Yorkers, including religious leaders, based on their religion without any suspicion of wrongdoing. It conducted other forms of warrantless surveillance of Muslims, including the monitoring of websites, blogs, and other online forums. The results of these unlawful spying activities were entered into NYPD intelligence databases, which amassed information about thousands of law-abiding Americans. A police representative has admitted that the mapping activities did not generate a single lead or resulted in even one terrorism investigation.
In January 2016, a settlement was announced after the NYPD agreed to reforms barring investigations on the basis of race, religion, or ethnicity. The settlement is tied to another long-standing class-action lawsuit concerning the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau’s investigations, Handschu v. Special Services Division. In 1985, Handschu was settled through a court-ordered decree of rules governing the NYPD Intelligence Division’s investigations (known as the Handschu Guidelines). As Handschu is a class-action, the court will conduct a fairness hearing on April 19, 2016 where members of the class, meaning all New Yorkers, can comment on the proposed settlement. If the Handschu court approves the settlement, the judge overseeing Raza must also approve the settlement before it can take effect.
In June 2013, CLEAR, ACLU, and NYCLU filed the above complaint, challenging the NYPD’s surveillance as violating both the New York and U.S. constitutions
In 2013, Handschu class counsel filed a motion with the court, asking for an order to the NYPD to stop its surveillance in violation of the Handschu Guidelines.
Raza – Settlement Stipulation
Handschu – Motion for Settlement
On January 7, 2016, a proposed settlement was announced in Raza and Handschu. The proposed settlement involves modifications to the current Handschu Guidelines.
Current Handschu Guidelines
This is the current version of the Handschu Guidelines.
Proposed Modified Handschu Guidelines
The proposed settlement in Raza and Handschu is a series of modifications to the current Handschu Guidelines. The proposed modifications include protection against investigations on the basis of religion, race or ethnicity; new time limits on investigations; limits on the use of confidential informants and undercover officers; and the installation of civilian review over compliance with these new rules.
On February 10, 2016, the judge in Handschu announced that he will hold a fairness hearing on April 19, 2016 at 10:00 AM at 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY. The notice provides information on how to register to comment by April 5, 2016.