Surveillance guidelines routinely violated by NYPD – report
The New York Police Department’s intelligence bureau routinely violated the famous Handschu Agreement, a set of 1985 guidelines that protect constitutional rights, for purely political reasons, according to a new inspector general report.
Inspector General Philip K. Eure of the NYPD released a report on Tuesday that found their intelligence bureau ignored the court-ordered guidelines for surveillance techniques on political activities, such as protests.
The report did not find any improper motivations but confirmed they ignored court-ordered protocol when investigating political activity. For example, Eure found that in 50 percent of relevant investigations, the NYPD continued investigation past the expiration of legal permission.
In addition, the report noted that the NYPD failed to properly document use of undercover agents and informers.
The 1985 Handschu Agreement is a strict set of guidelines that mandate how the NYPD must handle investigations of political, religious or ideological organizations. It resulted from a celebrated court case against the NYPD, filed way back in 1971 in the wake of the unsuccessful prosecution of members of the militant Black Panther movement. Prior to the Handschu agreement, the NYPD had a history of targeting political groups such as communists and the Black Panthers, going so far as to monitor members and infiltrate organizations to act as, “agents provocateurs to disrupt the activities of political organizations and to facilitate the arrests of organizational activists,” the New York Civil Liberties Union said.
Eure’s boss, Mark Peters, the city’s commissioner of investigation, announced: “This investigation demonstrates a failure by NYPD to follow rules governing the timing and authorizations of surveillance of political activity. While we found no evidence of improper motives, these rules are important to protect the rights of all New Yorkers and must be rigorously followed,” amNewYork reported.
The NYPD has scheduled a news conference to discuss the report’s findings.