AG: NYPD Did Not Break Laws While Secretly Watching NJ Muslims

TRENTON – A three-month fact-finding review of intelligence-gathering conducted by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in New Jersey has revealed no evidence to date that NYPD’s activities in the state violated New Jersey civil or criminal laws, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said today.

Chiesa detailed steps taken by his office to improve law enforcement coordination and address concerns expressed by Muslim community leaders:

· An agreement has been reached to strengthen the lines of communication with NYPD concerning investigative activities in New Jersey related to counter-terrorism. New Jersey law enforcement officials will meet with NYPD on a regular basis to exchange information concerning counter-terrorism intelligence and operations.

· Effective immediately, by virtue of an Attorney General’s Directive issued today, New Jersey law enforcement agencies have formalized notification protocols to follow when they learn of law enforcement activity being conducted by out-of-state police agencies within their jurisdictions. For counter-terrorism-related matters, the Directive establishes reporting protocols to designated personnel at the New Jersey State Police Counter-Terrorism Bureau and the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, for further coordination with the Joint Terrorism Task Force headed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

· The Attorney General’s Office will establish a Muslim outreach committee in order to enhance communication and encourage a greater understanding regarding issues of importance to both law enforcement and the Muslim community.

The still-ongoing fact-finding review conducted by the Office of the Attorney General included gathering information from individuals within the ranks of law enforcement in New Jersey, New York, and other states, as well as from civilians within the Muslim and other communities in New Jersey. The Office of the Attorney General will continue to receive and assess information relevant to the conduct at issue and cooperate with any other state or federal law enforcement agencies engaged in reviewing those matters.

Chiesa announced the results of the fact-finding review to date after meeting earlier today with leaders from New Jersey’s Muslim community at the Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton. The Attorney General explained that while, as a routine matter, law enforcement in New Jersey effectively coordinates operations to de-conflict and ensure operational safety with out-of-state law enforcement agencies, the Directive issued today will bring consistency to those reporting mechanisms based on the nature and scope of the underlying law enforcement activity. He also indicated that the Directive, as well as regular meetings with the NYPD, will enable better, and more immediate, coordination of information for purposes of conducting counter-terrorism operations.

Chiesa said, “We remain committed to striking the appropriate balance of ensuring the safety of our citizens through vigilance in fighting terrorism, while not undermining the public’s confidence in how we approach that mission.”

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