In the years after September 11th, 2001, the NYPD targeted Muslim communities for surveillance through a series of programs that generated fear but no usable leads. Lawsuits challenged the activities after they were exposed by the Associated Press, and the lawyers involved have now moved to settle.
Police will admit no wrongdoing
Under the terms of the settlement, as outlined by The New York Times, the NYPD will not agree to change any specific tactics or admit wrongdoing, but it will allow a so-called "civilian representative" to review the department's surveillance activities. The monitor, a civilian lawyer appointed by the mayor, will be empowered to review police files and report wrongdoing to the mayor or a judge, according to the Times.
The settlement, which is still subject to a judge's approval, also requires police to cap the length of investigations, after some were revealed to have lasted years. The city will also cover $2 million in lawyer fees. The settlement covers two related cases from multiple groups challenging the NYPD's programs. A third case, over surveillance in New Jersey, is pending.
The Associated Press' blockbuster series on the NYPD's surveillance efforts revealed that the NYPD's "Demographics Unit" had targeted Muslim mosques and businesses. Police kept files on Muslims who changed their names and those police believed to be especially devout. Last year, the department shuttered the unit.