(NEW YORK, NY, 3/29/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today decried a ruling by the New York Court of Appeals permitting the NYPD to thwart requests under New York’s freedom of information law (FOIL).
Under today’s ruling, the NYPD can make a “Glomar defense,” neither confirming nor denying the existence of information relevant to a FOIL request.
Today’s decision came in a case brought by two Muslim men, Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid and Samir Hashmi, who filed FOIL requests seeking information on the NYPD’s warrantless and unconstitutional surveillance of Muslims and Islamic organizations. The NYPD has also recently used the Glomar Defense to block FOIL requests connected to surveillance of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
“Today’s decision is a blow for all New Yorkers who support government accountability,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director, Albert Fox Cahn. “This goes far beyond the NYPD, setting a precedent that can be abused by law enforcement agencies across New York State. Our courts are allowing the NYPD to keep secrets our lawmakers never intended to remain hidden, and it’s now incumbent on Albany to fix the problem. We cannot let the NYPD use unconstitutional intelligence tactics without the public oversight New Yorkers demand.”
On July 13, 2017, CAIR-NY sent Mayor de Blasio a letter urging him to support the use of FOIL requests as an important oversight tool, noting his past criticism to NYPD’s failure to honor such requests when he was the NYC Public Advocate.
On March 16, CAIR-NY and the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP (ECBA) filed a class action civil right lawsuit in federal court alleging that the NYPD photograph policy forcing women to remove religious head coverings (like a hijab) is violation of the law.
SEE COMPLAINT http://bit.ly/NYPD_Hijab
NY-Times – Hijab Removal by the New York Police Prompts a Lawsuit
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos. END
CONTACT: CAIR New York Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn, 571-766-6273, email@example.com