A letter to Commissioner William J. Bratton about the treatment of 11 people arrested at protests over the Eric Garner case asks the police chief to prevent improper questioning about political activity.
Three particular paragraphs, one of which names the five civil rights lawyers who wrote the letter. I knew one of them and all five have excellent reputations. (I say this in case any readers have civil rights cases and are looking for lawyers.)
“We want to ensure that remedial measures are put in place to prevent the recurrence of such wrongful inquiries into First Amendment protected activities,” the letter stated. “The December questions do not pertain to unlawful activity, but to political activity.”
The letter, which was sent to Mr. Bratton by certified mail on Monday and was also sent to Zachary W. Carter, the head of the New York City Law Department, said that the questioning had violated a set of rules known as the Handschu guidelines, which govern how the city police may investigate political activity. The guidelines were created in 1985 by the settlement of a class-action lawsuit, Handschu v. Special Services Division, that asserted that the police had violated the Constitution while monitoring political groups.
Spokesmen for the Police Department and the Law Department said the letter — from Paul G. Chevigny, Arthur Eisenberg, Jethro M. Eisenstein, Franklin Siegel and Martin R. Stolar — was being reviewed.