Judge to OK Deal on NYPD Surveillance of Muslims

NEW YORK (AP) -

A deal with the city to settle lawsuits accusing its police department of violating basic rights in Muslim communities after Sept. 11, 2001, can be approved with some changes, a judge said as he criticized the department for routinely disregarding guidelines instituted decades ago to settle a 45-year-old lawsuit.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles S. Haight Jr., signed on Friday in New Haven, Connecticut, and put in the public record on Monday, called for changes to language in the deal describing the authority and responsibility of an attorney who would be chosen to sit on a committee of police officials that discusses the status of investigations pertaining to political activities carried out by the department’s intelligence bureau.

“The proposed role and powers of the civilian representative do not furnish sufficient protection from potential violations of the constitutional rights of those law-abiding Muslims and believers in Islam who live, move and have their being in this city,” the judge wrote.

The judge recommended strengthening the independence and authority of the civilian representative by allowing him or her to “at any time communicate to the court comments or concerns arising out of his or her functioning in that position.”