Looks like the NYPD has some explaining to do after the Supreme Court ordered the New York City Police Department to admit to spying on Black Lives Matter protestors.
State Supreme Court Justice Arlene Bluth ruled that the department must respond to a public records request regarding its monitoring of Black Lives Matter protesters’ cell phones and social media activities, NewsOne reports.
Bluth sided with members of the Black activist group on Monday and rejected the NYPD’s argument that releasing the information would compromise its counterterrorism and criminal investigations, the New York Times reports.
The ruling comes after a 2017 Freedom of Information Law request filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) on behalf of Millions March NYC, a group affiliated with the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The original request for information came after a 2014 protest march against the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Protestors say during the demonstration, several activists experienced issues communicating with their cell phones with some saying their cell phones shut down completely while they were video recording the march.
The activists suspected that the police were spying on them through their cell phones with Stingrays, the Times said. Supreme Court justice Bluth warned the NYPD of how it’s violating the law if the department used cell-site simulator technology and “cannot hide exposure of that fact through a Glomar response.”
This was a result of the NYPD’s initial response to the request for information where they released a statement that it could “neither confirm nor deny” the existence of those records, citing what’s known as a “Glomar response” that’s mostly used in national security surveillance cases, according to the NYCLU.
The NYCLU released a statement where they praised the judge’s ruling.
“Today the court confirmed that the NYPD cannot vastly expand the scope of the Glomar response to deny the public access to basic information regarding the tactics and technologies used by police to monitor First Amendment-protected political activity,” said NYCLU attorney Bobby Hodgson, in a statement.
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Image: Photo Credit: Kris Hermes