NYPD settles third lawsuit over surveillance of Muslims

The New York City Police Department has agreed to develop new policies and training materials for its Intelligence Bureau with input from Muslims and pay out more than $1 million in damages and legal fees to settle a lawsuit over its surveillance of Muslims in the decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The case, Hassan v. City of New York, filed six years ago, was the first of three federal lawsuits spurred by the Associated Press’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting in 2011 that exposed the NYPD’s secret mapping and monitoring of Muslim communities — including mosques, schools, restaurants and bookstores in and around New York City — on the basis of ethnicity and religion, and often in the absence of any meaningful suspicion.

A federal judge in 2016 approved a settlement for the other two lawsuits, in which the NYPD agreed to actively prohibit investigations on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or national origin, and to allow a civilian representative to monitor its compliance.

Attorneys and plaintiffs involved in the latest settlement said Thursday that the agreement builds on previous ones by ensuring public and plaintiffs’ input into the Intelligence Bureau’s policies and training materials, extending the guidelines established by the previous settlement to cover the residents of New Jersey and awarding monetary damages to some of those targeted by the surveillance program.

“Today’s settlement sends a message to all law enforcement agencies loud and clear,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, the organization that filed suit on behalf of 10 New Jersey Muslim individuals and organizations that the NYPD monitored under its secret program. “Simply being Muslim is not a basis for suspicion and cannot be a basis for surveillance.” Khera said.

Khera said police spied on nearly 40 mosques, businesses, schools and student associations in New Jersey alone.

New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill stressed in a statement Thursday that New York City and the NYPD have not admitted to any violation of law or misconduct.

“The resolution of this case affirms and enhances the NYPD’s commitment to conducting effective investigations to prevent crime and terrorism,” O’Neill said.

The police force said the settlement demonstrates the NYPD’s continuing commitment to “safeguard individual constitutional rights” while keeping the city safe.

The individual damages are modest, ranging from $2,500 for the married couple who ran a predominantly black girls’ school that the police surveilled — recording notes on the girls as they walked into school in the morning — to $22,500 for the Council of Imams in New Jersey, an association of more than a dozen historically black mosques, some of which also were surveilled.

The plaintiffs also include a butcher shop, which will receive $15,000 in damages; an auto body shop, which will receive $10,000; and local university chapters of the Muslim Students Association, which will receive $5,000.

“My co-plaintiffs and I felt enough is enough. Someone had to take a stand,” lead plaintiff Farhaj Hassan, a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, said in a conference call with reporters Thursday, and the plaintiffs, he said, had “won.”

“A police department not acknowledging wrongdoing is akin to a congressman’s ‘no comment,’ ” he added. “We know they did it. They’re just not going to admit it.” But the police documents and terms of the settlement have made clear the abuses that occurred, he said.

Attorneys and plaintiffs hailed the settlement — and a previous decision by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the lawsuit after the NYPD sought to have the case dismissed — as critically important in a period of what they described as continued public and administration-sanctioned hostility toward Muslims.

Muslim Advocates’ Khera said she hoped that the case would serve as “a reminder to other courts” that are reviewing more recent actions by the Trump administration including the president’s widely dubbed “Muslim ban,” which will be considered by the Supreme Court at the end of the month.

“I’m hopeful there are lessons to be learned from this,” said W. Deen Shareef, convener of the Council of Imams in New Jersey and a plaintiff in the case. “Whenever there is a mistake that is made, we always hope that people can acknowledge the mistake that they made . . . and we hope that they can find a way of improving so the mistake will not be made again.”

April 5, 2018

The NYPD Muslim Surveillance Program

WHY is the NYPD spying on Muslim communities?

  • The NYPD’s surveillance program is based on a false and unconstitutional premise: that Muslim religious belief and practices are a basis for law enforcement scrutiny.
  • The purported rationale for this unconstitutional surveillance is captured in a 2007 NYPD Intelligence Division report titled “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat.” The report claims to identify a “radicalization process” by which individuals turn into terrorists – a “process” so broad that it seems to treat with suspicion anyone who identifies as Muslim, harbors Islamic beliefs, or engages in Islamic religious practices. For example, its purported radicalization “indicators” include First Amendment-protected activities including “wearing traditional Islamic clothing [and] growing a beard,” abstaining from alcohol, and “becoming involved in social activism.”
  • WHERE has the surveillance taken place?
    • The NYPD’s suspicionless surveillance program has swept up Muslim communities throughout New York City, as well as every mosque within 100 miles of New York, and extended to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, and more.
    • WHO is spying on whom?
      • Since at least 2002, the New York City Police Department’s Intelligence Division has engaged in the religious profiling and suspicionless surveillance of Muslims in New York City and beyond.
      • The NYPD’s Intelligence Division has singled out Muslim religious and community leaders, mosques, student associations, organizations, businesses, and individuals for pervasive surveillance that is discriminatory and not conducted against institutions or individuals belonging to any other religious faith, or the public at large.
      • The Intelligence Division units engaged in the NYPD’s Muslim surveillance program include its Demographics Unit, renamed the Zone Assessment Unit; the Intelligence Analysis Unit; the Cyber Intelligence Unit; and the Terrorist Interdiction Unit.

Informant: NYPD paid me to “bait” Muslims and Student at John Jay

“I hated that I was using people to make money,” Rahman said. “I made a mistake.”

“I was an informant for the NYPD, for a little while, to investigate terrorism,” he wrote on Oct. 2. He said he no longer thought it was right. Perhaps he had been hunting terrorists, he said, “but I doubt it.”

NEW YORK — A paid informant for the New York Police Department’s intelligence unit was under orders to “bait” Muslims into saying inflammatory things as he lived a double life, snapping pictures inside mosques and collecting the names of innocent people attending study groups on Islam, he told The Associated Press.

Shamiur Rahman, a 19-year-old American of Bangladeshi descent who has now denounced his work as an informant, said police told him to embrace a strategy called “create and capture.” He said it involved creating a conversation about jihad or terrorism, then capturing the response to send to the NYPD. For his work, he earned as much as $1,000 a month and goodwill from the police after a string of minor marijuana arrests.

“We need you to pretend to be one of them,” Rahman recalled the police telling him. “It’s street theater.”

Rahman said he now believes his work as an informant against Muslims in New York was “detrimental to the Constitution.” After he disclosed to friends details about his work for the police — and after he told the police that he had been contacted by the AP — he stopped receiving text messages from his NYPD handler, “Steve,” and his handler’s NYPD phone number was disconnected.

Rahman’s account shows how the NYPD unleashed informants on Muslim neighborhoods, often without specific targets or criminal leads. Much of what Rahman said represents a tactic the NYPD has denied using.

The AP corroborated Rahman’s account through arrest records and weeks of text messages between Rahman and his police handler. The AP also reviewed the photos Rahman sent to police. Friends confirmed Rahman was at certain events when he said he was there, and former NYPD officials, while not personally familiar with Rahman, said the tactics he described were used by informants.

Informants like Rahman are a central component of the NYPD’s wide-ranging programs to monitor life in Muslim neighborhoods since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Police officers have eavesdropped inside Muslim businesses, trained video cameras on mosques and collected license plates of worshippers. Informants who trawl the mosques — known informally as “mosque crawlers” — tell police what the imam says at sermons and provide police lists of attendees, even when there’s no evidence they committed a crime.

The programs were built with unprecedented help from the CIA.

Police recruited Rahman in late January, after his third arrest on misdemeanor drug charges, which Rahman believed would lead to serious legal consequences. An NYPD plainclothes officer approached him in a Queens jail and asked whether he wanted to turn his life around.

The next month, Rahman said, he was on the NYPD’s payroll.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Tuesday. He has denied widespread NYPD spying, saying police only follow leads.

In an Oct. 15 interview with the AP, however, Rahman said he received little training and spied on “everything and anyone.” He took pictures inside the many mosques he visited and eavesdropped on imams. By his own measure, he said he was very good at his job and his handler never once told him he was collecting too much, no matter whom he was spying on.

Rahman said he thought he was doing important work protecting New York City and considered himself a hero.

One of his earliest assignments was to spy on a lecture at the Muslim Student Association at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. The speaker was Ali Abdul Karim, the head of security at the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn. The NYPD had been concerned about Karim for years and already had infiltrated the mosque, according to NYPD documents obtained by the AP.

Rahman also was instructed to monitor the student group itself, though he wasn’t told to target anyone specifically. His NYPD handler, Steve, told him to take pictures of people at the events, determine who belonged to the student association and identify its leadership.

On Feb. 23, Rahman attended the event with Karim and listened, ready to catch what he called a “speaker’s gaffe.” The NYPD was interested in buzz words such as “jihad” and “revolution,” he said. Any radical rhetoric, the NYPD told him, needed to be reported.

John Jay president Jeremy Travis said Tuesday that police had not told the school about the surveillance. He did not say whether he believed the tactic was appropriate.

“As an academic institution, we are committed to the free expression of ideas and to creating a safe learning environment for all of our students,” he said in a written statement. “We are working closely with our Muslim students to affirm their rights and to reassure them that we support their organization and freedom to assemble.”

Talha Shahbaz, then the vice president of the student group, met Rahman at the event. As Karim was finishing his talk on Malcolm X’s legacy, Rahman told Shahbaz that he wanted to know more about the student group. They had briefly attended the same high school in Queens.

Rahman said he wanted to turn his life around and stop using drugs, and said he believed Islam could provide a purpose in life. In the following days, Rahman friended him on Facebook and the two exchanged phone numbers. Shahbaz, a Pakistani who came to the U.S. more three years ago, introduced Rahman to other Muslims.

“He was telling us how he loved Islam and it’s changing him,” said Asad Dandia, who also became friends with Rahman.

Secretly, Rahman was mining his new friends for details about their lives, taking pictures of them when they ate at restaurants and writing down license plates on the orders of the NYPD.

On the NYPD’s instructions, he went to more events at John Jay, including when Siraj Wahhaj spoke in May. Wahhaj, 62, is a prominent but controversial New York imam who has attracted the attention of authorities for years. Prosecutors included his name on a 3 ½-page list of people they said “may be alleged as co-conspirators” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, though he was never charged. In 2004, the NYPD placed Wahhaj on an internal terrorism watch list and noted: “Political ideology moderately radical and anti-American.”

That evening at John Jay, a friend took a photograph of Wahhaj with a grinning Rahman.

Rahman said he kept an eye on the MSA and used Shahbaz and his friends to facilitate traveling to events organized by the Islamic Circle of North America and Muslim American Society. The society’s annual convention in Hartford, Connecticut, draws a large number of Muslims and plenty of attention from the NYPD. According to NYPD documents obtained by the AP, the NYPD sent three informants there in 2008 and was keeping tabs on the group’s former president.

Rahman was told to spy on the speakers and collect information. The conference was dubbed “Defending Religious Freedom.” Shahbaz paid Rahman’s travel expenses.

Rahman, who was born in Queens, said he never witnessed any criminal activity or saw anybody do anything wrong.

He said he sometimes intentionally misinterpreted what people had said. For example, Rahman said he would ask people what they thought about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, knowing the subject was inflammatory. It was easy to take statements out of context, he said. He said wanted to please his NYPD handler, whom he trusted and liked.

“I was trying to get money,” Rahman said. “I was playing the game.”

Rahman said police never discussed the activities of the people he was assigned to target for spying. He said police told him once, “We don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. We just need to be sure.”

On some days, Rahman’s spent hours and covered miles (kilometers) in his undercover role. On Sept. 16, for example, he made his way in the morning to the Al Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn, snapping photographs of an imam and the sign-up sheet for those attending a regular class on Islamic instruction. He also provided their cell phone numbers to the NYPD. That evening he spied on people at Masjid Al-Ansar, also in Brooklyn.

Text messages on his phone showed that Rahman also took pictures last month of people attending the 27th annual Muslim Day Parade in Manhattan. The parade’s grand marshal was New York City Councilman Robert Jackson.

Rahman said he eventually tired of spying on his friends, noting that at times they delivered food to needy Muslim families. He said he once identified another NYPD informant spying on him. He took $200 more from the NYPD and told them he was done as an informant. He said the NYPD offered him more money, which he declined. He told friends on Facebook in early October that he had been a police spy but had quit. He also traded Facebook messages with Shahbaz, admitting he had spied on students at John Jay.

Keep Promoting that White Trash,we’re heading for destruction

This truthfully is for everyone who wants to accept change.”Sdwjr

Will you agree that the truth offends? If you say it doesn’t,I will want to know why,and for those of us, who thinks it offends,were absolutely correct.Before I dive into why I believe it offends,I will like to address those White folks who have twisted the gospel, why have you cause many their souls,and many enemies of the Christian faith.Have we ask ourselves why the Muslims and other cults hates the Christian faith today? If you’ve wondered,it is because the White folks twisted the entire HOLY BIBLE to suit their comfortable lifestyles.The White folks thinks the gospel doesn’t offend and shouldn’t offend,and infact if it offends it’s God’s word.This type of believes have watered down the gospel til most Black Churches are preaching the very same message.They say it doesn’t offend,and if it does offend,then it’s not the gospel.

Well,if it didn’t offend people,Jesus wouldn’t have been persecuted as far as the Bible is concern. The White’s gospel is a total trash.I will give you few biblical references as to why I say what I believe.The gospel clearly offends and it’s proven in scriptures and Jesus was asked if he knew it did and he acknowledged it offends.There are people who preaches the White’s trash in our churches,and millions are convince that it doesn’t offend.Let me share some of the stupidity I’ve  heard from those who preaching the White’s trash today.

I know you’ve heard this word before,and if you’ve not,I’ve it in bold letters, CAN WE GET ALONE WITHOUT OFFENDING EACH OTHER?Humanly it is nearly impossible for everyone to get alone without offending another.Well,in our society people are taught to get along with everybody.Don’t rock the boat, don’t stir up trouble and let us all please get alone.We are told that we shouldn’t say anything that might offend someone in some way or the other.Just don’t offend anybody,pls!! That we shouldn’t preach or teach anything that might offend someone in some way or another.Is that’s the gospel of Jesus?.Don’t preach or teach against people practicing false religious.We shouldn’t be earnest with people cause it will hurt someone feelings .

Following these types of teaching from these White folks will get you kill and send you straight to hell.I am not surprise why alot White teenagers question Christianity,and their relationship with God.Don’t offend nobody as a Christian isn’t possible,and as much as it sounds good,it isn’t what Jesus Christ preached as the gospel.

“The most unloved group of people on the face of this earth is the White people.They grow up not genuinely expose to true love.They make others to believe they’re about love but in actuality they’re hateful to one another.It is sad but that is earnest truth.”

You will come to understand why they teach the gospel to not offend anyone.They want to be love and accepted.But it is the wrong way they go about with it.I want you sit tight with me,as I am between breakfast and planning Ministry functions.So the question is this, Jesus messaged offended those he came in contact with on earth? Yes.Why were they offended? Let’s look at the Greek word Offend,It means skandalizo to stumble,sin or cause take a look at what Jesus says on this.Matthew 13:54,Luke 4:21,Matthew 13:57…I am giving you these scriptures as proof that is does offend so read it for yourself.

Since offend means stumble,sin and displeasure,The truth cost people displeasure and make folks harden their hearts.One of the reason I opposed the White’s Knowledge of the Bible,it says speak the truth in love and don’t offend,but the gospel is offensive.You try to say it slowly as you can,if it spoken with as Jesus said it,it will cause a stir of negative reaction.There is no way we can speak the truth in love and it don’t offend.”Im 100% positive that the gospel offends b/c it points out where we stumble,sin and areas of displeasure in our lives that we don’t want to change.”

The QUOTE “The reason we don’t believe the gospel should offend people b/c we too religious ourselves.”Dr.Samuel.D.Wilson,Jr.

I heard a Pastor who stated he just wants to show people love.I said, “Do you’ve a greater love than Jesus?” He kept quiet.His love for people can’t be measure or compare.What is really sad today,when we hear the gospel that offends and require us to change, we leave the church and hate the Pastor.
Infact we tend to go else  where to get our ears tickles.I mentioned this on my Street outreach in California.I want everyone to grab this QUOTE.It exposed a deep truth among us.
THE GOSPEL DON’T OFFEND SINNERS BUT THOSE WHO KNOWS THE TRUTH AND ACTING STUPID.THOSE ARE THE ONES WHO GETS OFFENDED“Dr.Samuel.D.Wilson,Jr
No where the in BIBLE that sinners got offended by Jesus teaching,except those Pharisees who were religious like most of us.Back to my point earlier in the morning, I stated Jesus message did offend,and since it did,why are we ashamed to be bold with his truth. The gospel exposes our inconsistency,sins and make us displease with our lives.The sole purpose of the gospel is for us to get it right.
The sole intend isn’t to make us comfortable in our stumble messes,sins and displeasures.That’s the White’s gospel,and that’s not the Jesus’s gospel.Let’s take a direct look at some of Jesus’s expression in scriptures.Matthew 15:1_12.Jesus exposed the Pharisees and called them HYPOCRITES.The gospel causes people to re-evaluate their lives,and things that causes them to stumble, snd sin.Nobody wants to be expose to that message of the gospel.
So We’ve developed displeasure b/c we don’t want  to change our lives,and we cave into the White’s trash gospel called “Don’t Offend anyone.”
The gospel offends cause it corrects us in a way that we do feel offended.
*Thank God for the knowledge and understanding,and made this message so I a change we need in our lives right now in Jesus name.Amen!

 

CAN THOSE PUNKS STOP WANT US FROM SUCCEEDING?

1oneofakindWhenever we have a great idea that is going to be a successful one, the first thing we want to do is share it with our world. We usually start with the people who are closest to us, such as our families,friends and followers.Since these people hold such a dear place in our lives,we assumed they’re supportive of us, want us to be successful in everything we set to do,but this is not always the case. Although they might actually want us to succeed or say that they do, something else is going on in their subconscious.

Almost deep down, whether they know it or not, something registers that really scares them. They realized that, if they go along with our new ideas,and we are successful, we are going to change and  turn our backs,and so will our relationship. If they support our goals for higher learning, we may be more educated and they’ll feel that we won’t have interest or conversation with them anymore. If we start a diet, they may not have those snackfest pigouts that we have every Saturday night at the movies. If we start a successful business, we maybe too busy for them or start socializing with a different class of people.

Without us knowing their thoughts, they will start to find all sorts of flaws with our ideas and try to convince us not to go ahead with it. They may seem supportive but they may also be a little hesitant with their support. These friends, followers or family members can really kill any drive we have for success,and leave us stuck in the same place that we have always been with no chance of growing and reaching for the stars of success.

I used the word “Lucky” people don’t usually have this problem, because they make friends or already socialize with people that are where they want to be. If they want to be rich, they will hang out with rich people. If they want to be in good shape, they will hang out at a gym. I don’t remember who said this,but there was one wealthy man who said,” That if he ever lost all his money, he would work hard to buy himself a nice suit and then go hang out at a country club with rich people.”

When we have a great idea and we are really motivated, try to keep the idea to ourselves for a little bit while we put together a plan and figure out how we are going to do it. If we tell anyone about it, make sure they are someone who is already where we want to be. After all, if we get advice, the person who is already there is the best person to get it from. Just remember, “Never take advice from someone who has never successfully done what you want to do.” If we take their advice, we will end up exactly where they are.

“When punks don’t want us to succeed,will we blame them,or will we make it anyways,we got no excuse for not succeeding”.Dr.S.D.Wilson,Jr

North Carolina K-9 police officer fatally shot during traffic stop; suspect kills himself.

 

A police officer in North Carolina was shot and killed late Saturday during what authorities described as a routine traffic stop.

Mooresville Police Department K-9 officer Jordan Harris Sheldon, 32, was shot at about 10 p.m. after stopping a vehicle on West Plaza Drive, police said. Mooresville is about a half hour north of Charlotte.

Sheldon was taken to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries.

“We’re hurt, we’re angry,” said Police Chief Damon Williams during a news conference Sunday, adding that his department was going through a “roller coaster of emotions.”

PHOTO: Mooresville, N.C., Police Department K9 Officer Jordan Harris Sheldon, 32, was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Mooresville Police Department
Mooresville, N.C., Police Department K9 Officer Jordan Harris Sheldon, 32, was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Saturday, May 4, 2019.more +

The suspect, Michael Aldana, 28, fled the scene after the shooting, but was tracked to a nearby apartment building, Mooresville police said. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after officers entered the person’s home.

Aldana was “known to the department,” but did not have a history of violent crimes, Williams said.

He added that the investigation was active. It was still not clear why Aldana was pulled over and what led to the shooting.

Investigators were also poring over evidence, including bodycam video, Williams added.

Sheldon had been with the department for six years.

“This isn’t just a number for us,” said Mayor Miles Atkins during the news conference Sunday. “This is a real person.”

Sheldon’s family is “distraught,” Williams said.

“They’re our family,” the chief added, “and we want to take care of them.”

Sheldon is the 16th police officer to be fatally shot in the country this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks police deaths.

PHOTO: Officer Jordan Harris Sheldon is pictured in this undated photo released by Mooresville, N.C., Police Department. Mooresville, N.C., Police Dept.
Officer Jordan Harris Sheldon is pictured in this undated photo released by Mooresville, N.C., Police Department.

Mooresville is known as one of the hubs of NASCAR, with many prominent auto racing teams headquartered in the town, including Team Penske, MTJ Motorsports, Kasey Kahne Racing and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports. The now-retired Earnhardt lives in Mooresvile, which is also the location of a museum dedicated to his father.