The Handschu Guidelines are a set of rules in New York that regulate police investigations into political activity. The first guidelines were articulated in a consent decree that arose in the court case Handschu v. Special Services Division in 1985. In 2003 the NYPD requested and was given permission to adopt a new set of guidelines, which were incorporated into the NYPD Patrol Guide. One of the original Handschu provisions that was removed was the requirement for a “Handschu Authority” to approve any proposed investigations into political activity.
However, after a decade of widespread surveillance and infiltration against Muslims, multiple lawsuits were filed in 2013. The lawyers in the existing 1985 Handschu Guidelines filed a motion to reopen the Handschu case because of violations to the Guidelines that persisted since 2002.
After three years of litigation, the NYPD agreed to a proposed settlement attempting to increase limits on NYPD surveillance. In March 2017, after the Court held a fairness hearing on the proposal, it approved a new set of revised Handschu guidelines. Among the notable amendments are a requirement that terrorism investigations “not intrude upon rights of expression or association in a manner that discriminates on the basis of race religion or ethnicity.” The revised guidelines also provide for a civilian representative on a new “Handschu Committee,” which monitors, but does not authorize, investigations into political activity. This program, taught by NYC civil rights attorney Omar T. Mohammedi, will explore the Constitutional issues and controversial provisions in the Guidelines, as well as the tension between oversight of law enforcement, and the goal of protecting society from violence.
Omar T. Mohammedi is the founder and managing partner of the Law Firm of Omar T. Mohammedi, LLC, established in 1998. His previous experience includes working at Shearman & Sterling, LLP and Anderson Kill & Olick, PC, and he is licensed to practice before the New York State Courts, the Second Circuit, the Eighth Circuit, the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York and the Court of International Trade.
Mr. Mohammedi has litigated cases of national prominence and has been the lawyer in major court opinions. Mr. Mohammedi has successfully represented clients in high profile cases such as, Amadou Diallo v. the City of New York et al., Shqeirat v. US Airways Group, Inc. et al (known as the six Imams case) and Stephanie Lewis v. Transit Authority et al. Mr. Mohammedi has extensive experience in complex multi-district litigation (MDL) cases such as In re 9/11 Litigation and Appellate work.
In addition, Mr. Mohammedi has extensive experience in Islamic finance law, Islamic estate planning international trade and business law. He has advised various financial institutions, namely HSBC, and major international institutions on Islamic financial transactions such as Sukuk, Musharaka, Mudaraba, Ijara and Murabaha. Mr. Mohammedi has represented various clients in Islamic Estate Planning structures covering 30 million USD in assets.
Mr. Mohammedi counsels various business and individual clients on commercial and corporate matters, Islamic finance, real estate investment, buy/sell agreements, international trade, and investment. Mr. Mohammedi is counsel to various for-profit and non-profit institutions on financial structures such as charitable remainder trusts, pool income funds and modes of Islamic finance operations. He has advised major corporations and business councils on international business matters and legal issues in the Middle East and North Africa.
Mr. Mohammedi is a lecturer of Law at Fordham Law School where he teaches, Introduction: Islamic Finance & Estate Planning and Conventional & Islamic Finance Law: A Comparative Study.
Mr. Mohammedi is a former NYC Commissioner on Human Rights. He was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to become the first Muslim and Arab New York City Commissioner on Human Rights from October 2002 to December 2014. He enforced the New York City Human Rights Law through review and approval of Administrative Judges’ decisions. Mr. Mohammedi enforced judgments on Human Rights violations and proposed legislations to protect the Human Rights of civilians and minorities.
Mr. Mohammedi is the author of many law review articles and published articles, including: Sharia Compliant Wills: Principles, Recognition, and Enforcement, 57 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 259 (2012–2013), Shariah-Compliant Wills: An Overview, Probate & Property Magazine, Vol. 25, No. 1 (2011), International Trade and Investment in Algeria: An Overview, 18 Mich.J.Intl L. 375 (2010).
On July 15, 2015, Mr. Mohammedi received a proclamation from the Office of the Public Advocate in recognition for his 25 years of complex civil ligation services. The proclamation referred to Mr. Mohammedi’s successful representations of minorities against discrimination and profiling in high profile cases. The Public Advocate, Letitia James, honored Mr. Mohammedi for his professional achievements as a lawyer and advocate, which she deemed worthy of the highest respect and esteem in the legal community.
On May 5, 2010, The US-Algerian Business Council awarded Mr. Mohammedi at the 2010 US-Algeria Energy Day in Houston, Texas for his legal contribution to foster trade relations between Algeria and the US.
In May 2007, Mr. Mohammedi received awards from the New York State Senate, the New York City Council, the Office of the President of the Borough of Queens, and the Brooklyn Borough President for his 20 years of dedication and outstanding contributions as a lawyer, a commissioner, and leader in the State and City of New York.
In 2003, Mr. Mohammedi was featured in the New York Law Journal article “Lawyers as leaders in their community and New York City“. He was cited by Mayor Bloomberg as a successful lawyer and leader serving New York City.
Mr. Mohammedi holds three law degrees. He graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned the highest cumulative average from Fordham Law School. He is also a Law School graduate from Cambridge and Warwick University in England. He received a BA in Law from Tlemcen University, Algeria.
Mr. Mohammedi is fluent in Arabic, French and English.
Omar Mohammedi is the President and Founder of the Association of Muslim American Lawyers (“AMAL”). He is a member of the Advisory Board of Trustee: Tanenbaum Center for Religious Understanding and a Committee Member of the Citizen Union for Civic Engagement.
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