LAPD Sued Over Abandoned ‘Muslim Mapping’ Plan

Remember the SeaTac official who wanted to create a “tactical” map of the city’s Muslims? What if we told you he wasn’t alone?

He wasn’t.

Nearly a decade ago, the Los Angeles Police Department was considering a similar map of its own to help identify Muslim communities that it thought might be prone to "violent, ideologically based extremism." In fact, then-LAPD Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing even testified about the controversial "Community Mapping" plan in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Outrage over the idea predictably ensued and the plan was scrapped in 2007. Now, a Muslim advocacy group wants all records pertaining to that defunct proposal, and it’s suing to make sure it gets them.

Muslim Advocates filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court Monday. For three years, they have been asking the LAPD to hand over emails related to the program, according to the suit. The department has refused to do so, the group said, instead offering “evolving” and often contradictory explanations.

Muslim Advocates’ main goal is to understand how and why such a program even got as far as it did, and to make sure it’s positively dead in the water.

The ACLU, which is not involved in the case, weighed in on the suit.

"Any singling out of people of any faith, including the Muslim faith, for increased government scrutiny would violate the equal protection and freedom of religion guarantees of the U.S. Constitution," said Ahilan Arulanantham, the legal director of the ACLU of Southern California. "The government should be transparent about the processes that led it to initiate this misguided program and then to rescind it."

LAPD spokeswoman Rosario Herrera said the department cannot comment on pending litigation.

Read more about the lawsuit here.

Image Credit: Flickr User pedrocaetano, via (CC BY 2.0)