TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a law Monday that requires out-of-state law enforcement agencies to notify state officials before conducting surveillance in New Jersey.
The impetus for the proposal came from a series of articles by The Associated Press that revealed the NYPD operated secretly in New Jersey neighborhoods where Muslims lived and worked. They spied on Muslim organizations, infiltrated Muslim student groups and videotaped mosque-goers, the AP reported.
Abdul Kareem Muhammad, the imam of Newark’s Masjid al-Haqq mosque, was listed in a secret NYPD intelligence report, as were Muslim schools, Muslim restaurants and Muslim-owned stores.
Christie said the new the law protects civil liberties while also keeping the country safe from terrorism.
The law passed by wide margins in both chambers of the state Legislature.
The NYPD has maintained that its operations were lawful and necessary to keep the city safe. Officials also said they are not bound by state lines because officers are just collecting information.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the NYPD can gather intelligence anywhere in the country it wants and is not required to tell local authorities.
And the NYPD did not violate any state laws because New Jersey had none that bar outside law enforcement agencies from secretly conducting operations within its borders, a review last year by then-New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa found.
year, some Newark police officials told the AP that they were aware the NYPD was in the city but weren’t given a full accounting of their activities there. Mayor Cory Booker said at the time that he and others were misled and called the surveillance based on religious affiliation “deeply offensive.”
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