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Make Your Voice Heard Against NYPD Surveillance of Our Communities

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The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) strongly encourages Arab and Muslim New York City residents, organizations and those impacted by the NYPD mass surveillance program to comment on the Handschu Settlement terms.

On April19, 2016, Judge Haight heard oral comments on whether the proposed settlement terms were reasonable and fair. Judge Haight agreed to a 30 day extension of comment submission to the court. The deadline to submit written comments is May 26, 2016.

The settlement terms were built upon a modified Handschu Guidelines. The Handschu Guidelines came to the forefront with the Raza v. City of New York law suit. The Handschu Guidelines came out of the Handschu v. City of New York case that charged the NYPD with targeting residents based on political and religious views. However, the Handschu guidelines were effectively dismantled in 2003 citing terrorism.

The Raza case revealed that NYPD mass surveillance of Muslims and our communities, which violated the Handschu settlement.

If you wish to comment on the settlement, please send your comment by mail with your name and address to:

Handschu Settlement, Clerk’s Office, US District Court, 500 Pearl Street, NY, NY 10007.

The Fairness Hearing is open to the public and will be held Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at 10 am in the U.S. Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007.

A summary of ADC’s comments to the Court on the Modified Handschu Settlement are below:

  1. NYPD’s commitment against investigations in which race, religion or ethnicity is a substantial or motivating factor is insufficient. The NYPD must be prohibited, the prohibition must include use of national origin as a substantial or motivating factor, and there must be explicit guidelines on how this is to be implemented in changes to procedures, training, and policies.
  2. The “Handschu Committee” and Civilian Representative Position substantive power is unreasonably restrained to actually make a difference and prevent NYPD mass surveillance in our communities. The Committee and Civilian Representative Position must be a permanent committee and position. The Committee is semi-independent, but a wholly independent mechanism is necessary to ensure actual oversight. The Committee and Civilian Representative also need the power to accept and present for consideration individual grievances from individual’s interactions with NYPD at the monthly intelligence meetings to actually prevent mass surveillance.
  3. The investigation restraints on NYPD and use of confidential informants are welcomed due to the current NYPD standard but in some ways mediocre. The settlement does not prohibit the use of a confidential informant’s information and/or their statement alone to satisfy the “articulable and factual” threshold to commence preliminary inquiry. The settlement does not require the use of the “clear and convincing” standard prior to deployment of undercover officers or confidential informants to determine if the information sought in the investigation could be obtained by less intrusive means.

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