Federal Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against NYPD For Spying on Muslims, Rules It Was Legal

Syed_Hassan.jpg
Image via Muslim Advocates
Lead plaintiff Syed Hassan, center, at a press conference on the lawsuit last year.
A federal judge in New Jersey has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the New York Police Department by a group of Muslim individuals and community groups, a suit that had alleged that the NYPD's surveillance of them infringed on their constitutional rights. In a decision released yesterday, New Jersey U.S. District Judge William J. Martini ruled that the spying itself was legal, that the plaintiffs had no standing to bring the case, and that even if they did, they couldn't prove that the NYPD had acted with the intention of discriminating against Muslim Americans.

This suit, filed in December 2012, was the first brought by Muslim groups against the NYPD for their surveillance program, uncovered by the Associated Press in 2011. (A second suit was filed in New York in June of 2013 by the American Civil Liberties Union.) The lead plaintiff in the New Jersey case was Syed Farhaj Hassan, a Shi'a Muslim and Iraq war veteran. The suit's other plaintiffs included a students' association, a council of imams in New Jersey, a beef sausage company, and several other individuals, including the principal of a grade school for Muslim girls. The suit was filed by lawyers from Muslim Advocates, a San Francisco-based group, and the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, neither of whom are very happy with the judge's ruling.

- See also: City and NYPD Ordered to Turn Over Records in Muslim Surveillance Lawsuit

In his decision, Judge Martini didn't question the existence of the surveillance program, which has been pretty extensively documented. But he said that the plaintiffs had no standing to bring their case, because they couldn't prove they had suffered an "injury in fact," a violation of a "legally protected interest" which was both concrete and imminent. In other words, a complaint from the imams that the spying program "impaired them from engaging members in open political and religious discussion and from fulfilling the spiritual needs of their members" was too theoretical a claim on which to sue. Martini added that the plaintiffs had also failed to prove that their injuries were directly linked to the behavior of the NYPD.

In fact, Martini adds, the real "injury" to the plaintiffs came not from the NYPD spying on them, but from the disclosure of that spying by the Associated Press:

None of the Plaintiffs' injuries arose until after the Associated Press released
unredacted, confidential NYPD documents and articles expressing its own
interpretation of those documents. Nowhere in the Complaint do Plaintiffs allege
that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of the documents by the
Associated Press. This confirms that Plaintiffs' alleged injuries flow from the
Associated Press's unauthorized disclosure of the documents. The harms are not
"fairly traceable" to any act of surveillance.

Martini added that the plaintiffs hadn't proved that the NYPD "acted with discriminatory purpose," spying on them specifically due to their religion. He wrote:

[T]he Plaintiffs in this case have not alleged facts from which it can be plausibly inferred that they were targeted solely because of their religion. The more likely explanation for the surveillance was a desire to locate budding terrorist conspiracies. The most obvious reason for so concluding is that surveillance of the Muslim community began just after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself.

The Center for Constitutional Rights and Muslim Advocates have already released a joint statement on the ruling, accusing the judge of "green-lighting" the surveillance of Mulsims. CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy is quoted in part as saying, "In addition to willfully ignoring the harm that our innocent clients suffered from the NYPD's illegal spying program, by upholding the NYPD's blunderbuss Muslim surveillance practices, the court's decision gives legal sanction to the targeted discrimination of Muslims anywhere and everywhere in this country, without limitation, for no other reason than their religion."

The two groups also made it clear that they'll appeal the decision. Glenn Keaton, Muslim Advocates' legal director, added, ""The fight is not over by any means. The surveillance program violates the Constitution, and we are confident that this decision will not hold up to review upon appeal. The NYPD's blatantly discriminatory program has hurt the lives of many innocent Americans--moms who fear sending their children to school, students who simply want to pray, and Muslim-owned businesses that have lost customers."

Neither the city nor the NYPD has yet commented on the ruling, and it looks like they won't; a spokesperson for the city's Law Department declined to comment when reached by a Bloomberg reporter. The case in New York brought by the ACLU is still ongoing.

The full decision from Judge Martini dismissing the suit is on the following page.

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7 comments
TheTruthHurts
TheTruthHurts

I do not think the Muslims have much to worry about these days! Now that every single person on planet Earth knows beyond a shadow of a doubt the the filthy Zionist Neocons, the illegal nuclear terrorist genocidal state of Israel and their Cabal of dual agents that have illegally and unconstitutionally occupied 90% of the offices in DC are the true perpetrators of 9/11 and all the other false flags and illegal wars the heat will be off them soon! With the murderous, thieving Zionist gang banksters flinging themselves out of sky scrapper windows by the dozens this new year alone and having their Al-CIAda snuff each other before they can snitch on each other to cut deals it is pretty damning evidence that their consciences are kicking in over their deeply felt guilt boiling to a head! With the Morgan Stanley and Deutsche bank Rothschild Zionist scum being linked to the spy network involving the NYPD and CIA all sharing the same live video feeds and data from the 2000+ cameras on Wall Street it is fairly obvious that the treasonous, genocidal conspiracy is well intertwined between every facet of all of the above listed criminal entities it is only a matter of time before some honest law enforcement and military members will be impelled to finally take action and put an end to Israels venomous attacks on America and her citizens locking the majority of the guilty away for life and executing the highest crimes against humanity offenders! Their Sandy Hoax was the most disgusting ploy yet! Attempting to fool America into believing children were gunned down in a last ditch effort to disarm the 99% slaves and peasants that back fired in their faces! Now that the mighty power of social networking and the internet has exposed Israel as liars claiming the Palestinians were the terrorists all these years as they stole their land, bulldozed their homes and slaughtered their entire families in the process 1000's of times over it is to be expected a very small percentage of the concentration camp victims would lose their minds and seek revenge since they had nothing in the world left to live for! Only 200 attacks over 50 years is a drop in the ocean compared to the 2000 atrocities per year Israel has inflicted on those poor soles! Then they have the nerve to label them the terrorists on the media networks and entertainment industry they also monopolized years ago! Toss in their control of the FIAT currency they print out of thin air then loan to our great government and country at interest from their privately owned federal reserve banks further allowed them to get away with these grievous crimes against humanity all these years! All anyone can say is that God for the power of the internet, social media and the other 6 billion 500 million good men and woman that have finally joined together managing to get these truths out to the entire world! When good men do nothing evil prevails! The only reason everyone sat around doing nothing up until now is they did not know because they have been lied too from every single source of supposedly official news information outlets and government officials that have been illegally occupied by their scheming Cabal over the last 200 years planning this! When they started planning this 200 years ago they never anticipated the power of social media and the power of truly good people with enough love in their hearts to restrain themselves from murdering the guilty in the streets as they do to their genocide victims then lie to our faces and go home and have a fine dinner and sleep like babies for 50+ years! It is not the true Jewish people either such as my wife and her family! They do despise the Zionist monsters and they protest in the 1000's outside Israels embassy yet you will never see that on the media they maintain a death grip on strangling out the truth before it ever reaches the light of day! It is time to unite and tell these demonic monsters it is time for their reign of terror to end! All dual citizens responsible for 9/11, running all the drills that go live into false flags, calling off Norad and killing 3000 American citizens in cold blood while striking the center of our financial core to rubble in it's foundations with explosives! Ask them why are the videos from the 70+ camera that filmed the missile striking the pentagon still classified top secret for national security 13 years after the crime? Ask them, Why was there not one word about building 7 in the "official" 9/11 report? Ask them what happened to the missing 2.3 trillion dollars reported missing from the Pentagon just days before their attack that we never hear another word about? Or the ENRON case and the bonds purchased to collapse the soviet union that came due on the 13th when the security and exchange just happened to be in emergency clearing mode? Ask them why only 120 million of the 8 billion in gold was recovered? Ask them how they can look their children in the face every single day knowing they are traitorous monsters that deserve to die by firing squad or Hung by the neck for their ultimate crimes? It's no wonder they are flying off rooftops, disappearing, abdicating their titles and bumping each other off trying to cut off lose ends even though they are all so intertwined and guilt ridden there is no use! Just accept the fact that you are scum and you know who you are! We the 99% are the true power! We do not need your FIAT currency and oppression any longer! It is time for you all to accept the fact that the news is out! Israel does not deserve the 3 billion a year aid that they drain from us after the treachery and murder they have unleashed on us time and time again from the USS Liberty that we will never forgive to the unforgivable act of 9/11! It is not racist to despise well documented genocidal, lying thieves that have repeatedly robbed and murdered your countrymen, illegally occupied your government offices and media and lied to you at every turn!, IT"S COMMON SENSE! The Zionists have soiled Judaism bringing hardship and hate crimes against the true Jewish people! What the Zionists have done to the world makes Hitlers actions seem like a parking violation in comparison! Your genocide and global enslavement has been on going for over 50 years! It is finally coming to the end! Take it like adults and do not flip over the chess board on your way out the door please. You monsters have already done enough damage to the people! God Bless everyone, keep love in your heart and hope in your mind! It does not hurt to keep your rifles locked and loaded just in case, these people are demons!

Jerome
Jerome

Man I miss James Ridgeway and Wayne Barrett


The Voice used to be so relevant.

gynnady
gynnady

I look forward to the decision that will come down when a Christian congregation allied with anti-abortion rights terrorism is monitored.


Turkman29Hasan
Turkman29Hasan

@villagevoice we also believe we have rights but we do not what we have is so called privileges and that will be taking away as they see fit

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