Club calls for Mayor to immediately schedule public meetings with Judge Robinson and members of impacted communities
With a membership that includes Muslim New Yorkers from communities all across the city, who have been impacted by the NYPD's unlawful surveillance, we were relieved after the announcement of a settlement in the Raza v. City of New York and Handschu v. City of New York cases, wherein the NYPD agreed to new rules to safeguard against targeting of New Yorkers engaging in constitutionally-protected religious and political activities.
Yesterday, we were severely disappointed to hear of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's unilateral appointment of Judge Stephen Robinson to the role of independent civilian monitor—a decision made with no input from impacted communities nor New Yorkers at large, whom Judge Robinson is tasked with representing in his role.
Of further grave concern is the revelation that Judge Robinson was selected in consultation with former NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of discriminatory "broken windows" policing policies and the immediate past Commissioner of the very police department that Judge Robinson would be tasked with monitoring. While the settlement allows for the Mayor to consult with the Commissioner on the appointment, consulting only with the Commissioner reads as a betrayal of the spirit of the settlement and makes a mockery of the notion of independence.
We are also concerned about Judge Robinson's past role as Deputy General Counsel of the FBI, an agency with its own long and sordid history of discriminatory law enforcement targeting Muslims and Muslim communities.
We call upon the Mayor and Judge Robinson to immediately hold public meetings with Muslim New Yorkers and other impacted communities to hear our expectations of him in his new role and explain how his independence can be assured given that the Mayor and the Commissioner were the only parties involved in his appointment. Further, we call for a schedule of periodic public meetings throughout Judge Robinson's term, to ensure that he remains accountable to the New Yorkers whom he has been appointed to represent.
Anything short of immediately holding public meetings to address these concerns could call into question the Mayor's commitment to protecting the civil rights and liberties of all New Yorkers, regardless of their religion or background.