Posts Tagged ‘racial profiling’

Federal Judge abandons the Constitution, and the rights of Muslim Americans

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 8:20 am by

nypd-ny-muslims-811-thumb-640xauto-3955On Thursday, February 20, a federal judge based in Newark, NJ dismissed a lawsuit against the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) large scale surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey. The case of Hassan v. City of New York was brought by several individuals and organizations, with legal representation by Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
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The NYPD can’t hide anymore

Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 8:44 am by
Oirignal photo from PopularResistance.org

Oirignal photo from PopularResistance.org

In 1971, a lawsuit was filed against the New York Police Department (NYPD) for engaging in unconstitutional surveillance practices against activist groups including the War Resisters League and the Black Panthers. This fight eventually brought on reform within the Department, but since the 9/11 terrorist attacks these changes have been rescinded. Now, the people are looking to the courts to, once again, curb the abuses of the NYPD.

Several lawsuits have been filed against the Department in regards to its surveillance program, which specifically targets Muslim communities. This program has allegedly classified Mosques as terrorist organizations, in order to secretly infiltrate them and spy on their members.  It has been reported that the NYPD has even created a wide-ranging map of the Muslim communities, recording intimate details of their lives, from where they pray to where they eat.

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Bratton and de Blasio: an opportunity for meaningful police reform in New York as long as we don’t waste it

Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm by

Mayor-Elect Bill De Blasio Announces William Bratton As City's Next Police Chief

Last week, New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced the most recent addition to his administration, naming Zachary Carter the chief lawyer of the city. Carter served as United States attorney in Brooklyn from 1993 to 1999 and oversaw high profile cases like that of Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was brutally assaulted and tortured by NYPD officers in 1997. Like de Blasio, Carter has expressed a commitment to creating opportunities for disadvantaged groups and fighting police misconduct. This appointment appears to be a step in the right direction towards greater fairness in policing and an end to the rampant profiling and abuse that have come to define the NYPD.

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The end of childhood in the era of the emerging American police state

Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm by
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[Credit: Zen Gardner]

Original commentary by John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute published on December 16, 2013.

It wouldn’t be a week in America without another slew of children being punished for childish behavior under the regime of zero tolerance which plagues our nation’s schools. Here are some of the latest incidents.

In Pennsylvania, a ten-year-old boy was suspended for shooting an imaginary “arrow” at a fellow classmate, using nothing more than his hands and his imagination. Johnny Jones, a fifth grader at South Eastern Middle School, was suspended for a day and threatened with expulsion under the school’s weapons policy after playfully using his hands to draw the bowstrings on a pretend “bow” and “shoot” an arrow at a classmate who had held his folder like an imaginary gun and “shot” at Johnny.  Principal John Horton characterized Johnny’s transgression as “making a threat” to another student using a “replica or representation of a firearm” through the use of an imaginary bow and arrow.

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News Digest 12/03/13

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm by

Current News 

12/3, Editorial, The Detroit News, Government should pull back on forfeitures

12/2, Kevin Gosztola, FIREDOGLAKE, NSA Sent Home Talking Points for Employees to Use in Conversations with Family & Friends During Holidays

12/2, Cory Doctorow, Bing Bong, How big corporations and government spy agencies surveil and sabotage activist groups

12/1, Ross Anderson, The Guardian, Work and surveillance in a post-Snowden world

12/1, Lawrence Roberts, Bloomberg, Feinstein Says U.S. No Safer From Terror Than Two Years Ago

11/23, Eyder Peralta, NPR, Miami-Area Police Force Accused Of Rampant Racial Profiling

What’s yours is now the government’s: civil forfeiture and the “war on terror”

Monday, November 11, 2013 at 9:53 am by

Civil asset forfeiture sounds like a a dry legal term, but it has a deeper impact on people’s lives and our justice system than you might expect. It’s a practice that threatens property rights, rewards discriminatory policing, and has interesting and unexpected connections with the violations of constitutional rights that have come to define the “war on terror.” Civil asset forfeiture refers to the process of law enforcement seizing property — like cars, money, or houses — suspected of being involved in, or paid for by, illicit activities. This occurs without a charge or conviction because bizarrely, civil forfeiture law names the property itself as the defendant in the lawsuit, rendering the owner’s innocence irrelevant. It is difficult if not impossible to challenge civil asset forfeiture, and police disproportionately apply this practice to poor people, immigrants, and people of color who are already disempowered by the legal system.

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FBI’s Suspicious Activity Reports threaten privacy and first amendment

Friday, November 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm by

fbiIs an upside down American flag a reasonable indication of criminal activity? What about a group of young Middle Eastern men speaking a non-English language? Does the presence of Muslim women at a shopping mall suggest an intent to commit a crime? Is an artist photographing buildings necessarily a terrorist threat? According to the FBI, these first amendment protected actions are suspicious activities. These are all examples from the summaries of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) acquired by the ACLU and originally produced by the Central California Intelligence Center and the Joint Regional Intelligence Center.

The stated purpose of SARs is to collect information about criminal activity that may be related to “terrorist pre-operational planning,” which can then be shared among the different levels of the government. These reports could be issued by local law enforcement officers or could be the result of tips from the public.

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Protestors face down urban shield war games in Oakland CA

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm by

Between October 25 and the 28, an intimidating list of over 150 police departments, federal law enforcement agencies and private corporations participated in a series of militarized war games using the city of Oakland California as if it was their personal playground.

The exercises unfolded as various “real world” scenarios where local law enforcement agencies competed against one another from a central “Red Command.”

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“In past years, Urban Shield has featured hostage-taking scenarios involving animal rights activists, and the bombing of an oil platform by Anarchists. In an interview, Sheriff Ahern said the scenarios are sourced from threats made to law enforcement and government agencies over the past five to ten years that have been documented by the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. “Many of those threats have used the formats of anarchy, in the form of white supremacy, of Muslim extremism,” Ahern said. “We simply use threats we’ve received over the last five to ten years that have been documented through our regional intelligence center.” (Eastbay Express)

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Unleashed and Unaccountable: New report from the ACLU reveals extent of FBI abuses

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 9:30 am by

WEB13-FeaturePage-FBI-MainImageEvery 90 days for the past seven years, the government has acquired the full billing records of every American’s daily telephone calls. Though the use of  of secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders, the FBI has forced telecommunications companies to hand over records revealing such details as who individuals call, the length of those phone calls, and the locations of the callers. As the ACLU explains in a new report titled, “Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority,” these secretive, unconstitutional, and ineffective invasions of privacy have become a mainstay in the post-9/11 domestic surveillance enterprise.

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, several significant changes in law and policy have vastly expanded the power of the FBI, enabling it to conduct widespread warrantless surveillance and utilize broad investigative authority. The passage of the Patriot Act and the accompanying secret interpretation of Section 215 have allowed the FBI to spy on Americans and gather an unprecedented amount of information about their personal lives.

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Stop and Frisk found unconstitutional, communities vindicated

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm by

friskOn Monday, August 12, New Yorkers won a historic victory with a federal court ruling that the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) use of stop and frisk policing violated the constitution. Judge Shira Scheindlin found the tactic, as had been argued by the plaintiffs and their attorneys, the Center for Constitutional Rights, violated both the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

To remedy the violations of rights that the court found had affected thousands of New Yorkers between 2004 and 2012, the Judge mandated a number of court supervised changes. The order imposes important reforms on the NYPD related to stop and frisk. The court appointed an independent monitor to oversee the process of bringing the NYPD’s tactics in line with the constitution, required trials of officer worn body cameras in each borough and mandated community input into the reform process. Police body worn cameras have shown excellent results reducing the use of force by police officers and complaints against them. In Rialto, California the use of cameras resulted in a 60% drop in the use of force by police officers.

However, to ensure better policing for all New Yorkers, it will still be crucial for the New York City Council to overturn the mayor’s veto on the two bills championed by Communities United for Police Reform. These bills will greatly expand profiling protections to insure that New Yorkers are not targeted by police for their identity and establish an Inspector General for the NYPD. The council is scheduled to vote on the veto override on August 22.

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