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Did the NYPD’s Spying on Muslims Violate the Law?

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Posted on Mar 1, 2012
AP / Mary Altaffer

Todd Jaime of Brooklyn attends a rally demanding the resignation of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly in early February.

By Justin Elliott, ProPublica

(Page 2)

ProPublica: What other rules does the NYPD operate under?

Patel: The second set is that the NYPD has a profiling order in place, and New York City also has a racial profiling law. They are slightly different. The NYPD order [issued in 2002] does not include religion among the categories that they define as profiling. But the New York City law does. It prohibits police officers from relying on race, ethnicity, religion or national origin as a determinative factor in initiating law enforcement action. Normally, you have quite a difficult time in racial profiling cases showing they’ve used one of these factors as the determinative factor. In this case, if you look at the documents, it seems quite clear that the NYPD had its eyes quite firmly on the Muslim community, so it’s possible it is also in violation of this law.

The third set of rules is, of course, the U.S. and New York state constitutions. Within the [U.S.] Constitution, you’re looking at at least two broad categories of provisions—potential First Amendment claims for free speech, freedom of association and free exercise of religion. The other piece of it would be potential equal protection claims.

ProPublica: Another AP story this week reported that federal grant money and equipment were used in the NYPD surveillance and investigation of the Muslim community. Does that muddy the legal questions about whether the police were following federal rules?

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Patel: The federal program that was giving them money is the HIDTA program—High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. It’s geared toward providing funds to combat drug trafficking. HIDTA itself does allow for counterterrorism spending to be an incidental purpose. It requires the HIDTA executive board to basically make sure that funds were being used for the purposes that they were supposed to be used for. So, I think there’s a real issue about accountability and oversight of the use of HIDTA funds here.

ProPublica: So, if the NYPD did potentially violate the Handschu guidelines and city law you mentioned, what are the penalties?

Patel: Well, the Handschu lawyers already went to court last year and told the judge that the documents that had been released by the AP suggested that there had been violations of the Handschu decree. They asked for discovery so they could check the files of the NYPD to see whether they had violated the prohibition on keeping dossiers. I believe that that discovery will likely be starting soon. So, there’s clearly a remedy through the Handschu mechanism. Because it’s a consent decree, it’s an ongoing thing. The judge has supervisory jurisdiction. There are also issues under the racial profiling law and under the First Amendment.

We’ve also turned to the question of oversight. The FBI, for all its faults, does have a fair amount of oversight—an inspector general internally and congressional oversight. We think a similar thing would be a great idea for the NYPD.

 


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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, March 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

Heterochromatic you seem to be confused about how far a police officer can go. Only within their jurisdiction. Anything out side of that constitutes a crime. Illegal operations out side of New York city. This should be easy to understand.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 8, 2012 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

tic,

I didn’t state that detectives could not be assigned as a liaison in cases outside their jurisdiction, it is typically not the case for patrol officers.

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By heterochromatic, March 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

PH—- would you care to explain why NYPD detective can
not be officially assigned to gather information around
the world ?

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 7, 2012 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

spammatic,

They are allowed to take their gun with them as sworn officers and no, intelligence gathering is not an official function of ‘beat’ officers outside their jurisdiction.

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By heterochromatic, March 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

NG——they’re not outside their legal job if they’re
gathering intelligence in New Jersey, New Orleans, New
Delhi or New South Wales….


no guns and no power to arrest, but gathering
information is quite proper…..if done properly.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, March 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

What they were doing was operating outside of their jurisdiction. In another state! Should be easy to understand. They weren’t “visiting” or “on vacation” they were intelligence gathering out side their legal job.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 3, 2012 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Even the NYPD go on vacation outside of NYC.  They even get to take their weapons with them.

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By heterochromatic, March 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

NYPD operates outside the country, not just outside the
city limits….and are not debarred from doing
that…..

perhaps you’re confusing their authority to make
arrests with their authority to gather information.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, March 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Such babies with the name calling. Time to grow up an join the rest of us or go to the sand box for your sand games.

Unless NYPD is sanctioned to go outside of their city an state they are out of their jurisdiction. They are feeling their oats since they were given so much money an power after the 9/11/01 attack. Can’t wait to see how the courts look at it.

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By heterochromatic, March 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

patsy, don’t you believe that stuff that the FBI is
saying about me….they were wrong to think that I had
anything to do with that townhouse in the Village.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

Settle down tic,

Lets not have a panic attack and bomb anyone. 

We know you are predisposed to do such.

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By heterochromatic, March 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

—-the Muslims are the Jews of the 21 century——-

don’t let balkas or drb or patsy or the other bigots
and crazies here hear about this!!!!

otherwise they’ll demand that the round-up commence.

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By berniem, March 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

Support you local police state! I continue to await clarification as to who is being served and protected! Just wait until all of our “military heros” return from the various venues of crimes against humanity only to find out that Blackwater, or whatever they call themselves these days, isn’t hiring and the only game in town is to be a cop, then we’ll see how balanced the scales of justice truly are! FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!!!

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Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, March 2, 2012 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

By PatrickHenry, March 1 at 2:49 pm

Most likely, NYC is run by and occupied by a predominantly zionist - Jewish local government.  When you control the courts and judges violating the law is easy.

Bloomberg is the local Kapo.
=====================================================
Amen to what you said PatrickHenry, however, I would go further to say that the whole sad country called America is run by Zionists, Zionists’ lovers, Zionists’ brainwashed, Zionist-Christians and Zionists’ blackmailed officials.

The fascist criminal wars against Muslim countries of the last ten years and the mass slaughter and destruction in Muslim lands by Zionist-controlled America is clear evidence that the Muslims in the twenty-first century are the Jews of Nazi Germany.

So what’s new about Muslims in New York being the target of the NYPD?! Muslims should be thankful that it has not gotten yet to gas chambers and concentration camps similar to what happened to the Jews under Nazi Germany and to the Japanese in America.

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By pete619, March 2, 2012 at 5:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think the G.O.P. is backing Gov Christie’s play in condemning Bloomberg, Kelly and the NYPD. In demanding
an investigation by Obama’s justice Dept. they have put
the Democrats in a lose, lose situation. If they
investigate, they are soft on terror. If they don’t
investigate, they are persecuting another religious
group, like the Catholics. Of course Bloomberg and
Kelly are going to take a beating in the ensuing media
firestorm but, they certainly have it coming.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 2, 2012 at 4:16 am Link to this comment

BTW, The New York sense of humor sucks as well.

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By heterochromatic, March 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

what’s a nice place like that doing with a gal like you?

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

Been there several times, its loaded with annoying people like you.

I’ll stay at home by the Chesapeake bay.

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By heterochromatic, March 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

Patsy—-you should come to NYC some time.. we would enjoy having you.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, March 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

Most likely, NYC is run by and occupied by a predominantly zionist - Jewish local government.  When you control the courts and judges violating the law is easy. 

Bloomberg is the local Kapo.

Report this

By chinny, March 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

NYPD = Israel Defense Force

indeed, the paranoia that is grown in our now militarized society might be described as the Israelification of America.

We sell them our bombs and jets, they sell us their wars, treachery and extra-judicial assassinations.

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By heterochromatic, March 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

it’s entirely possible that the NYPD was right at the edge of legality

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