The NYPD is being taken to federal court by a group of Muslim New Yorkers, which includes a Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard) student, over what they allege was an illegal spying sting. WNYC is reporting that 20-year-old Asad Dandia, the Kingsborough student, has joined the suit, which charges that the NYPD violated his constitutional rights as a law-abiding citizen in the surveillance program.
The controversial program in question came to light in a series of investigations conducted by the Associated Press. Besides the alleged illegality of the operation, the lawsuit addresses the consequences that the program has had on imams now more hesitant to discuss current affairs in their mosques. The NYPD action also has frayed relations between local Muslims and the police.
The WNYC report describes Dandia’s interaction with an undercover officer and the supposed hypocrisy of comments made by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly:
One of the plaintiffs, Asad Dandia , a 20-year-old Kingsborough Community College student who co-founded a Muslim service organization, found out last year that a man who had befriended him and joined his group was secretly working as an informant for the NYPD.
Dandia said it was ironic to hear NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly criticize the secrecy of the federal NSA surveillance program in an interview in Tuesday’s New York Post. ”It’s like, be a man of your principle, right? If you’re going to condemn one form of surveillance, you should take a look at your own backyard,” he said after a press conference outside NYPD headquarters.
In response to the suit, the NYPD defended itself by stating that there is nothing unlawful about officers attending events open to the public and using information they gather to fight terrorism.