FILE - In this Aug. 18, 2011 file photo, people walk below a New York Police Department security camera, upper left, which was placed next to a mosque on Fulton Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York. Civil rights lawyers are telling a judge that the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslim communities violates federal guidelines established to stop the NYPD from conducting political surveillance. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The New York Police Department is defending its use of undercover officers to prevent terrorism attacks, saying it follows the Constitution regardless of what civil rights lawyers say about its surveillance of the Muslim community.
Police spokesman Paul Browne commented in a statement Monday. It came after civil rights lawyers claimed in court papers that the police department had resumed now-banned tactics it used against anti-war demonstrators in the 1960s and 1970s.
Civil rights lawyers say the NYPD has subjected the Muslim community to "widespread and intense" surveillance, including where they eat, shop and worship.
They seek a court order against further surveillance of Muslims without evidence of crimes. Browne said terrorists have tried to attack the city at least 16 times since Sept. 11, 2001.