By Adam Goldman and Eileen Sullivan
WASHINGTON — Civil rights lawyers say they plan to ask a federal judge to declare the New York Police Department's spying programs directed at Muslims to be unconstitutional, and to order police to stop their surveillance and destroy any records in police files.
In a lawsuit being filed Tuesday, the lawyers say the spying has hindered residents from freely practicing their religion. It is the third significant legal action filed against the NYPD Muslim surveillance program since details of the spy program were revealed in a series of Associated Press reports in 2011 and 2012.
The lawsuit says Muslim religious leaders in New York have modified their sermons and other behavior to not draw additional police attention.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to a phone call and email asking for comment.
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Copyright 2013 Associated Press