The Los Angeles Police Department has dropped its plan to map L.A.'s Muslim community as part of its counter-terrorism strategy.
The ACLU/SC raised serious questions about the surveillance plan, which a senior LAPD official announced in a Congressional hearing. The official said Muslim Americans could become suspects based on their exposure to certain religious teachings, instability in their countries of origin, and where they get their news.
The LAPD said it was shelving the plan at a Nov. 15 meeting with the ACLU/SC and groups representing Muslim Americans.
The ACLU/SC voiced doubts about the proposal because of the message it sent to Muslim Americans, and because of the LAPD's history of intelligence gathering on groups based on their political beliefs. "Police can and should be engaged with the communities they are policing, but that engagement can't be a mask for intelligence gathering," the ACLU/SC's Peter Bibring told a reporter.
The ACLU/SC believes community-based policing should be based on face-to-face contact with L.A.'s communities, not mapping. Consulting with Muslim Americans and civil rights groups would have alerted the LAPD to problems with the plan.
The ACLU/SC has filed a Public Records Act request seeking any documents relating to the mapping plan to make sure that it does not return by another name.
Civil liberties are most vulnerable at times of crisis