The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) calls on all community members to write to Mayor Bill de Blaiso, Mayor of the City of New York, in support of two community leaders: Talib Abdur-Rashid and Samir Hashmi. Talib and Samir were subject to unlawful surveillance by the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the FBI as part of the NYPD’s “Demographics Unit” for no reason but being Muslim.
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In response, Talib and Samir filed a request for records under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). It is simple: Talib and Samir want the information that the police and government has collected on them. However, the NYPD is hiding this information and refusing to provide it to them. The NYPD responded to their FOIL with “we can neither confirm nor deny the information exists.” The NYPD’s response and “confirm nor deny” tactic is being challenged in court by 32 media and civil liberties organizations that have filed or signed on to “Friend of the Court” briefs supporting Imam Abdur-Rashid and Mr. Hashmi’s law suit.
The NYPD’s response to the FOIL is not actually a response, and undermines the purpose of FOIL. These actions inhibit transparency and act in hindrance to individuals’ right to request federal agency records or information. FOIL is a vital oversight tool for every aspect of government, as it empowers the public to request government documents, and casts light into the darkest corners of our bureaucracy. FOIL is used by journalists, civil rights advocates, and everyday New Yorkers to empower citizen watchdogs.
It is necessary you contact Mayor Bill de Blaiso, as he has the full power to take action to grant their request without waiting for a court decision on their appeal.
Today you can take the first step toward change and reform.