Raza v. City of New York (E.D.N.Y. 2013): Police Surveillance of Muslims

The Plaintiffs, three Muslim individuals (Hamid Raza, Mohammad Elshinawy, Asad Dandia), two mosques (Masjid Al-Ansar, Masjid at-Taqwa), and a non-profit Muslim organization (Muslims Giving Back), alleged that the NYPD violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights through unlawful, "suspicionless" surveillance and sought an injunction to prevent further surveillance. The Plaintiffs sought to prove discriminatory intent in one or two of the ways identified in Brown: (1) an express classification theory—by showing that "the NYPD expressly classified Muslims by adopting a policy of singling them out for heightened policy scrutiny"; or (2) a discriminatory application theory—"to the extent that Respondents claim they had a legitimate law enforcement interest in  Plaintiffs, . . . by showing that [Plaintiffs] were subject to NYPD investigations of unequal and unwarranted scope, duration, and invasiveness as a result of their religious beliefs and activities." Brown v. City of Oneonta, 221 F.3d 329, 337 (2d Cir. 1999). The Respondent, the City of New York, filed for bifurcated discovery, and the Plaintiffs responded with a move for a preliminary injunction and for expedited discovery. The Respondent argued that the Plaintiffs failed to meet the necessary standard for justifying expedited discovery. The District Court granted the expedited motion in part, but set up a two-stage schedule for discovery.

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