A settlement in our challenge to NYPD surveillance of New York Muslims was announced today, heralding new safeguards to protect against bias-based and unjustified investigations of Muslim and other minority communities.
The settlement language as reported in this article seems hopelessly vague. The NYPD can continue doing what it has always done. The only difference now is that they have to say things like: This investigation is not based on any bias, it will have no impact on any religious practice, we will use intrusive means to acquire info only when no other means are available, we have facts that indicate criminal activity, and so forth. Having said the magic words, they can then proceed as always. If I had been on the legal team that crafted this agreement, I would not be proud of it. It merely requires the NYPD legal team to generate some boilerplate before continuing business as usual. I see nothing "robust" in this "settlement." And one civilian will oversee the NYPD to ensure they follow these "safeguards"? That's a good one! This has the earmarks of a settlement for show, i.e., it is intended to make the legal team that filed the suit look successful and to make the NYPD look progressive. A win-win for everybody except the Muslims; they will of course remain under police scrutiny in NYC and every other jurisdiction in the country.