NYC Denies Spying on New Jersey Muslims

     NEW YORK (CN) – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office on Friday formally denied allegations of police department surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey, one week after agreeing to curtail surveillance to settle a related case.
     The office’s answer in Hassan v. City of New York is the latest move in a case that had stalled in the trial court until the Third Circuit ruled in November that the plaintiffs had standing to sue.
     The plaintiffs are various Muslim groups, mosques, and individuals whom the Associated Press reported in 2011 had been placed under department counterterrorism surveillance based on their religion and appearance.
     “The response is basically what we expected: it’s a wholesale denial of our allegation,” Glenn Katon, an attorney with Muslim Advocates, said.
     Hassan is the outstanding front in the battle over the NYPD’s surveillance procedures. On Jan. 7, New York settled Raza v. City of New York – a case stemming from the same surveillance program.
     Under that settlement, the city will allow a civilian appointed by the mayor to monitor surveillance activity.
     The settlement did not include admissions of guilt on the part of the city or the police department. The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
     “It’s a great development, it’s some very important outside oversight, but we definitely don’t see it as a panacea,” Katon said, adding that the settlement does not explicitly curtail blanket surveillance based on religion.

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