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Lawyers for Surveilled Muslims Respond to Dismantling of NYPD’s Demographics Unit

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press@ccrjustice.org

April 15, 2014 – Today in response to the New York Police Department’s announcement that it is disbanding its Demographics Unit, Muslim Advocates and Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

"While we welcome the dismantling of the Demographics Unit as a long overdue step towards reining in the unconstitutional excesses of the NYPD, what has to stop is the practice of suspicion-less surveillance of Muslim communities, not just the unit assigned to do it. The Demographics Unit, as it was constituted, did a great deal of harm to Muslim communities in NY and NJ, and the city has conceded that it did not produce a single criminal lead. But nothing in the City’s announcement definitively suggests they will put an end to broad surveillance practices, which would continue to be illegal regardless of which department within the NYPD might be engaged in it.  We will continue to work, through litigation and advocacy, to ensure the NYPD is fully and finally respecting the rights of the Muslim community."

Hassan v. City of New York is the first lawsuit challenging the NYPD spying program, initially filed by Muslim Advocates and later joined by CCR in December 2012.  The lawsuit is currently under appeal.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.