Civil rights lawyers say they plan to ask a federal judge to declare the New York Police Department’s spying programs directed at Muslims to be unconstitutional, and to order police to stop their surveillance and destroy any records in police files.
In a lawsuit filed June 18th, the lawyers say the spying has hindered residents from freely practicing their religion. It is the third significant legal action filed against the NYPD Muslim surveillance program since details of the spy program were revealed in a series of Associated Press reports in 2011 and 2012.
The lawsuit says Muslim religious leaders in New York have modified their sermons and other behavior to not draw additional police attention.
In October of 2012, a 19 year old of Bengali descent came out to the media about his role in the spying program. Shamiur Rahman told the Associated Press that in exchange for being an undercover informant, the New York Police Department (NYPD) would pay him $1,000 a month and forget about a case of marijuana possession that he would have otherwise been charged for. He was sent to mosques by the NYPD for the purpose of “creating” and capturing terrorist suspects by befriending Muslims and discussing jihad with them.