A federal judge has rejected a settlement of lawsuits charging that the New York City police department illegally targeted Muslims for surveillance, saying the deal did not go far enough and provide sufficient protections.
U.S. District Judge Charles Haight in Manhattan in a ruling made public on Monday rejected a deal announced in January in which the New York Police Department would install a civilian representative to help monitor its counterterrorism efforts.
Haight said the civilian representative’s proposed powers “do not furnish sufficient protection from potential violations of the constitutional rights for Muslims and believers in Islam who live, move and have their being in the City.”
He cited an inspector general’s report as indicating the department has a “systemic inclination” to disregard court-approved regulations, called the Handschu guidelines, that limit how it can monitor political and religious activity.
Haight suggested a series of alterations, including clarifying the authority of the civilian representative to ensure the NYPD’s compliance with the Handschu guidelines and requiring that the representative report periodically to the court.
The New York Civil Liberties Union, which represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement the ruling highlighted safeguards they sought but that the department declined to accept.
“This development is an opportunity to put the strongest safeguards in place, and we are eager to discuss the court’s suggestions with the NYPD and the city,” the group said.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the department pursued an aggressive surveillance program that sent undercover officers into Muslim neighborhoods, organizations and mosques.
The tactics, which became widely known after a series of reports by the Associated Press, were criticized by civil rights advocates as unconstitutional.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who campaigned in part on reining in police excesses, ended the program soon after taking office in 2014.
The proposed settlement required modifications to the Handschu guidelines, which were loosened after the Sept. 11 attacks, and called for at least a five-year term for the civilian representative.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
Pence adviser says that Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian president was ‘unusual and inappropriate’
Jennifer Williams, a Special Adviser on Europe and Russia issues for Vice President Mike Pence's foreign policy team, told congressional investigators that she viewed President Donald Trump's July 25th phone call to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky as "unusual and inappropriate." Williams had listened in on the phone call while it was happening, and a whistleblower revealing the controversial contents of that call prompted the current impeachment inquiry into Trump.
This article first appeared in Salon.
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Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Sunday argued that President Donald Trump should not be impeached because he never completed his quid pro quo with Ukraine.
During an interview on CBS, host Margaret Brennan explained that Trump only released aid to Ukraine after a whistleblower came forward with allegations that he was trying to bribe the country's president to investigate political rival Joe Biden.
"Most important, the Ukrainians did nothing, as far as investigations go, to get the aid released," Jordan opined. "There was never this quid pro quo, that the Democrats all promise existed before President Trump released the phone call."
Chuck Todd burns down GOP’s Ron Johnson’s Ukraine excuses: ‘You seem to blame this on everybody but the president’
A clearly exasperated Chuck Todd was forced to talk over a loud and filibustering Sen Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Sunday morning for once again pushing Ukraine conspiracies and arguing over whether Donald Trump wanted the president of Ukraine to attack former Vice President Joe Biden on his behalf.
Having let Johnson throw out several scenarios and try and spread the blame around, Todd, finally cut in to say, "You seem to blame this on everybody but the president. It was the president’s actions."
"You’re blaming everybody else for the reason we’re in this situation, other than the president," Todd continued. "Isn’t the president’s own behavior, which raised all of these yellow and red flags, isn’t is that why we’re here?”