Ten civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, have asked the state police and the chief executives of Connecticut cities, towns and two major universities to investigate the New York Police Department's unlawful racial profiling and surveillance of Muslims in Connecticut.
In letters mailed Feb. 29, 2012 to mayors, first selectmen, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the presidents of Yale University and the University of Connecticut, the organizations also asked them to request an investigation by the Department of Justice into the New York Police Department's activities. Letters were sent to all Connecticut cities and towns that have municipal police departments.
The Associated Press recently revealed that the Islamic Institute of Ahl'albait in West Hartford was among the targets in a NYPD report recommending increased surveillance based solely on religious affiliation and that NYPD surveillance had already covered the Muslim Student Association at Yale.
"We hope that municipal leaders and the state police will do everything in their power to determine the extent of the NYPD's surveillance of Connecticut Muslims and to undertake efforts to prevent further violations of the civil rights of Connecticut's law-abiding residents," said Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut.
The organizations signing the letters were: the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut; the Council on American-Islamic Relations - Connecticut; the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School; the New England Muslim Bar Association; the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition; Desis Rising Up and Moving; the Connecticut Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild; The Civic Trust Public Lobbying Committee; and The Bill of Rights Defense Committee. The letter is also signed by Hartford City Councilperson Luis E. Cotto. Although not able to sign on before the letters were mailed, the African-American Affairs Commission has since endorsed it.