A new court filing by a group of civil rights lawyers alleges that the NYPD’s insistent focus on surveilling Muslims is in violation of a 1985 legal ruling. “There is substantial persuasive evidence that the defendants are conducting investigations into organizations and individuals associated with the Muslim faith and the Muslim community in New York, and have been doing so for years, using intrusive methods, without a reasonable indication of unlawful activity, or a criminal predicate of any sort,” wrote the lawyers in a statement filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York today, describing how the police department has monitored places where New York Muslims socialize and worship.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, of course, believes that the department already has more than enough oversight.

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The motion focuses on a particular section of the NYPD’s intelligence division known initially as the Demographics Unit and later renamed the Zone Assessment Unit. This unit is at the heart of the NYPD’s spying program, built with help from the CIA. It assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and catalogued every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames.

(Photo: Pim Stouten/Flickr)