Speaking of bad police practices as we so often do these days, the NYPD's nefarious "Muslim mapping" project after 9/11 continues to stain the name of the country's largest, most expensive, and most renowned police department. The ongoing litigation between the NYPD and victims of the mapping project got served an unexpected twist this week when a New York judge rejected a negotiated settlement because, in the judges words, it did "not furnish sufficient protection from potential violations of the constitutional rights of those law-abiding Muslims and believers in Islam who live, move, and have their being in this city." The judge’s judgement smacked down the plan to have a civilian lawyer oversee the NYPD's counter-terrorism activities, saying that the NYPD has become "accustomed to disregarding" court orders and has a "systemic inclination" to violate constitutionally protected rights to free speech and religion. The judge’s decision reflects an alarming report by the NYPD's Inspector General back in August that echoed many of the same concerns. Now both sides of the court case will enter re-negotiations to find a settlement that will be acceptable to the judge. And the judge has made clear what he wants: he suggested that this civilian lawyer and overseer file confidential reports to the court on a quarterly basis, and that the position be a permanent one not up for elimination after 5 years as the settlement had stipulated. It's nice to see that reform is being taken seriously in the trend-setting police department of New York City when reform is desperately needed in less high profile municipalities across the country.

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