Democracy Now's Amy Goodman interviews Glenn Katon, Legal Director of Muslim Advocates, the group which filed a federal lawsuit against the New York City Police Department over its surveillance of Muslims in New York, New Jersey and throughout the Northeast.
Related article excerpt from NJ.com below the video:
The suit, which is the first legal challenge of the NYPD's spy operations, could mark the beginning of a historical movement, said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, the civil rights group filing the suit on behalf of several New Jersey residents.
"This lawsuit is perhaps the most important legal challenge brought to date by American Muslims," Khera said.
The eight plaintiffs are all Muslims from New Jersey and include a U.S. Army reservist, a Newark business owner who served in Vietnam and the imams of several mosques who were targeted by the NYPD Surveillance and Demographics unit.
The suit is calling for a "declaratory judgment" which labels specific surveillance of Muslims based on faith unconstitutional, said Glenn Katon, the legal director for Muslim Advocates.
Katon is also seeking a court order prohibiting the NYPD from future surveillance of Muslims based on faith and the destruction of all records compiled by the NYPD during its spy operations.
"When the NYPD says all Muslims are suspects we have a clear case of government denigrating religion," Katon said
Katon said that while the lawsuit is focused on New Jersey residents, further legal action could involve New York residents as well.
Muslim Advocates considered including Newark police in the lawsuit, but ultimately there were too many conflicting reports about the extent of their involvement in NYPD operations in New Jersey.
All eight plaintiffs were New Jersey residents that were in one way or another watched during NYPD's operations including at least two members of Rutgers' Muslim Student Association.