New York nears settlement with local Muslim leaders over spying lawsuit

Muslim-Americans protesting NYPD surveillance. Image: Reuters

Muslim-Americans protesting NYPD surveillance. Image: Reuters

The NYC government has come to initial settlement terms with Muslims, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, who challenged police surveillance as an unconstitutional and stigmatizing intrusion on their religious rights.

The Associated Press quotes city lawyers in a letter filed Friday saying there's a "settlement in principle" in a lawsuit filed by mosques, a charity and community leaders. The case began in 2013, and said the New York Police Department's post-911 surveillance was abusive to law-abiding Muslims.

Some details of the potential pact remain unresolved, according to the letter, which says the terms can't be disclosed because of a confidentiality order. The city Law Department, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union declined to comment Monday on the potential settlement.

The ACLU and the NYCLU are among the plaintiffs' lawyers in the Brooklyn federal case. The lawsuit was among legal actions that followed reports by The Associated Press that revealed how city police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques and otherwise spied on Muslims as part of a broad effort to prevent terrorist attacks.

A similar lawsuit is before a federal appeals court in Philadelphia after a New Jersey federal judge threw it out.

"NYC: Settlement in principle in Muslim surveillance lawsuit" [AP]

The NYDN first reported the court filings.