Analysis & Comment

Opinion | Police Spying in New York?

To the Editor:

Re “Did the Police Spy on Black Lives Matter Protesters?” (news article, Jan. 15):

The allegations of police spying require mayoral intervention.

Under federal court rulings in the Handschu case, now nearly half a century old, the police are barred, under the First Amendment, from doing what in the current case they are accused of doing: spying on peaceful expressions of political opinion.

Yet in the current case, the police refuse even to say whether they are doing it or not, raising spurious claims of terrorism.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has in the past opposed a City Council bill to require the police to even disclose what they are doing. This is beyond legitimate policy differences; it involves police-state tactics against fundamental First Amendment rights.

No mayor who claims the label “progressive” can fail to step in and stop this.

Ira Glasser
New York
The writer was executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union in 1971 when it helped bring the original Handschu lawsuit.

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