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NewsNew York

NYPD, civil libertarians meet over Muslim spying, court papers say

New York City has met at least twice with civil liberties lawyers to try to settle two federal lawsuits over NYPD intelligence and surveillance programs targeting Muslims.

The settlement talks were revealed in letters filed by city lawyers last month in the two cases in Manhattan and Brooklyn federal courts that requested a stay until Oct. 1. The letters were reported Tuesday by the Huffington Post.

"Counsel for the parties have met together on two occasions and have agreed to attempt to consensually resolve the pending disputes," said the Aug. 15 letter from city lawyer Peter Farrell.

The lawsuit in Brooklyn contends that police monitoring of the Muslim community involved unconstitutional religious profiling, while the lawsuit in Manhattan contends it violated a court guidelines on monitoring of political activity.

In April, the NYPD disbanded the so-called "Demographics Unit" that had carried out monitoring of Muslims. Since taking office, Mayor Bill De Blasio has previously settled suits involving stop and frisk, minority hiring at the FDNY, and the wrongful conviction of five men in the 1989 Central Park jogger rape.

The city had no immediate comment Tuesday on the settlement talks, and plaintiffs' lawyers declined to comment on details or progress of the discussions.

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