BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - The New York City Police Department prosecuted and fired a sergeant who exposed its creation of dossiers on Muslims and Middle Easterners in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, he claims in Federal Court.
Bobby Farid Hadid says the New York Police Department began making "daily lists of certain persons arrested for low level offenses" in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, and that cops interrogated arrestees "solely on the basis of their having been profiled as Muslim or of Middle Eastern origin."
"The interrogations were not about the low level offences that led to their arrests," the Jan. 5 complaint states. "The interrogations were about the individuals' Muslim or Middle Eastern backgrounds."
As he is fluent in French and Arabic, Hadid says he was part of the team conducting the interrogations.
In addition to holding arrestees in cells for illegal lengths of time, the city questioned them about their Islamic faith, how often they worshiped, and which mosque they attended, according to the complaint.
The questions led to reports allegedly known in police circles as DD-5s, which Hadid says the department maintains in a database on Muslims and those from the Middle East. More than 800 such reports were created, but none resulted in any leads to terrorist activity, according to the complaint.
Born in Algeria, Hadid says came to the United States in 1994 when he was 27, taught himself English and joined the police force in July 2002. He says the NYPD deemed him a "master linguist" and assigned to FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force, with a promotion to sergeant in 2007.
Between January 2008 and May 2009, Hadid allegedly supervised the "Citywide Debriefing Unit" to investigate Muslims and Middle Easterners.
He says he spoke up in 2009 to emphasize his belief that the NYPD is a law-enforcement agency, "not an espionage agency."
The department then hauled Hadid in and interrogated for several hours on bogus accusations that some of his reports were missing, and that he encouraged his charges to file fake reports, according to the complaint.
Hadid says he was removed from the unit, barred from the computer system and put on the night shift patrol beat in Queens.
Things came to a head when a prosecutor summoned Hadid to Kings County Supreme Court in October 2010 to testify at a hearing regarding his 2007 translation work in France for NYPD detectives working on a Brooklyn homicide, according to the complaint.
Hadid says the attorney for the defendant in that case then "manufactured a false claim about a relationship between the homicide defendant's girlfriend and Hadid, and suggested that Hadid had testified falsely at the trial."
Though the defense tactic allegedly failed and the suspect was convicted, the Internal Affairs Bureau investigated Hadid for perjury and he was indicted in 2011, according to the complaint.
During his 2012 trial, Hadid's former colleagues falsely testified that Hadid had numerous encounters with the homicide defendant's girlfriend in Paris in pursuit of an "amorous relationship," the complaint states.
Hadid says he was found guilty of perjury in October 2012, sentenced to five years probation and fined $375. He was fired the next month.
In May 2014, The New York Times did a story about him and the alleged debriefing unit, which included a picture of him, he says.
A unanimous appeals court reversed Hadid's perjury conviction in October 2014 after finding "that the evidence at trial failed utterly to show that Hadid had committed perjury," the complaint states.
Hadid says he the city's "abusive and retaliatory misconduct" caused him "severe financial and emotional damages."
Current police chief Bill Bratton allegedly continues to "discredit and punish" Hadid by branding him a "convicted perjurer" and refusing to reinstate him.
Hadid wants damages, plus reinstatement and back pay, for violation of his First Amendment rights, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and conspiracy.
In addition to Bratton and his predecessor, Ray Kelly, defendants include David Cohen; Thomas Galati; John Miller; Charles Campisi; and Christopher Broschart; and former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and his team, Melissa Carvajal and Elizabeth Moehle.
A spokeswoman with the DA's office said she hasn't seen the complaint and declined to comment Tuesday. The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hadid is represented by Nathaniel Smith.
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