New York’s highest court of appeals has ruled the NYPD may use a little-known legal tactic to conceal the truth of whether or not the department had two Muslim men under surveillance.
On Thursday New York’s Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the New York Police Department regarding the agency’s use of a legal rule known as the Glomar Doctrine. Under this Cold War-era rule the NYPD can hide certain records from the public if it determines the records will compromise the agency’s ability to investigate, prevent or prosecute crime. If a journalist or non-profit organization files open records requests related to a certain program, the government, or in this case the NYPD, can determine the related records will cause harm in some way and, thus, are protected from public release under the Glomar Doctrine.
In this case it involves open records requests related to the NYPD’s surveillance of two Muslim Men. In 2012, Talib Abdur-Rashid, a Manhattan imam, and Samir Hashmi, a former Rutgers University student, filed Freedom of Information Law requests to see if they were caught up in the dragnet of NYPD surveillance aimed at the Muslim community. The surveillance had only recently been revealed and both men wanted to know if they were affected by the profiling. The NYPD told the men they could not confirm or deny that any records existed. The men decided to file separate lawsuits which were eventually combined for the Court of Appeals case. The Court ruled 4-3 that the NYPD had correctly invoked the Glomar Doctrine.
In 2014, the NYPD Demographics Unit was disbanded for its role in surveillance and profiling of Muslims, including the Stop and Frisk search program. It was eventually revealed that the NYPD sent in plainclothes officers into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and create detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped.
These invasive, illegal, unconstitutional, and immoral programs are typically targeted at minority and at-risk populations with little representation or organization. They target minorities and immigrants; but, make no mistake, these measures will expand and eventually be aimed at all Americans. These types of rulings and legal loopholes like the Glomar Doctrine allow the authoritarian Police and Surveillance State to continue growing.
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1, Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2 and Manifesto of the Free Humans.
Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact [email protected]
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