Protect Civil Liberties Resolution

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Type: Resolution

Source File:

Sample Text:


WHEREAS the City of _______ is proud of its long and distinguished tradition of protecting the civil rights and liberties of its residents;

WHEREAS the City of _______ has a diverse population, including immigrants and students, whose contributions to the community are vital to its economy, culture and civic character;

WHEREAS the preservation of civil rights and liberties is essential to the well-being of a democratic society;

WHEREAS federal, state and local governments should protect the public from terrorist attacks such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, but should do so in a rational and deliberative fashion to ensure that any new security measure enhances public safety without impairing constitutional rights or infringing on civil liberties;

WHEREAS government security measures that undermine fundamental rights do damage to the American institutions and values that the residents of the City of _______ hold dear;

WHEREAS the Council of the City of _______ believes that there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty -- Americans can be both safe and free;

WHEREAS federal policies adopted since September 11, 2001, including provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56) and related executive orders, regulations and actions threaten fundamental rights and liberties by:

(a) authorizing the indefinite incarceration of non-citizens based on mere suspicion, and the indefinite incarceration of citizens designated by the President as ""enemy combatants"" without access to counsel or meaningful recourse to the federal courts;

(b) limiting the traditional authority of federal courts to curb law enforcement abuse of electronic surveillance in anti-terrorism investigations and ordinary criminal investigations;

(c) expanding the authority of federal agents to conduct so-called ""sneak and peek"" or ""black bag"" searches, in which the subject of the search warrant is unaware that his property has been searched;

(d) granting law enforcement and intelligence agencies broad access to personal medical, financial, library and education records with little if any judicial oversight;

(e) chilling constitutionally protected speech through overbroad definitions of ""terrorism"";

(f) driving a wedge between immigrant communities and the police that protect them by encouraging involvement of state and local police in enforcement of federal immigration law;

(g) permitting the FBI to conduct surveillance of religious services, internet chatrooms, political demonstrations, and other public meetings of any kind without having any evidence that a crime has been or may be committed;

WHEREAS new legislation has been drafted by the Administration entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA) (also known as PATRIOT II) which contains a multitude of new and sweeping law enforcement and intelligence gathering powers, many of which are not related to terrorism, that would severely dilute, if not undermine, many basic constitutional rights, as well as disturb our unique system of checks and balances by:

(a) diminishing personal privacy by removing important checks on government surveillance authority,

(b) reduce the accountability of government to the public by increasing government secrecy,

(c) expanding the definition of ""terrorism"" in a manner that threatens the constitutionally protected rights of Americans, and

(d) seriously erode the right of all persons to due process of law

WHEREAS these new powers pose a particular threat to the civil rights and liberties of the residents of our city who are Arab, Muslim or of South Asian descent; and

WHEREAS many other communities throughout the country have enacted resolutions reaffirming support for civil rights and civil liberties in the face of government policies that threaten these values, and demanding accountability from law enforcement agencies regarding their use of these new powers;


1. AFFIRMS its strong support for fundamental constitutional rights and its opposition to federal measures that infringe on civil liberties.

2. AFFIRMS its strong support for the rights of immigrants and opposes measures that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based on their country of origin.

3. DIRECTS the Police Department of the City of _______ to:

(a) refrain from participating in the enforcement of federal immigration laws;
(b) seek adequate written assurances from federal authorities that residents of the City of _______ and individuals in the custody of the City of _______ who are placed in federal custody will not be subjected to military detention; secret detention; secret immigration proceedings; or detention without access to counsel, and refrain from assisting federal authorities obtain custody of such individuals absent such assurances;
(c) refrain from engaging in the surveillance of individuals or groups of individuals based on their participation in activities protected by the First Amendment, such as political advocacy or the practice of a religion, without particularized suspicion of criminal activity unrelated to the activity protected by the First Amendment;
(d) refrain from racial profiling. The police department shall not utilize race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin as a factor in selecting which individuals to subject to investigatory activities except when seeking to apprehend a specific suspect whose race, religion, ethnicity or national origin is part of the description of the suspect;
(e) refrain, whether acting alone or with federal or state law enforcement officers, from collecting or maintaining information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless such information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct;
(f) refrain from: engaging in video surveillance unless the police have reasonable suspicion that the subjects of the video surveillance have or are about to commit a crime, establishing a general surveillance network of video cameras, deploying facial recognition technology or other unreliable biometric identification technology within the City of _______;
(g) provide advance or simultaneous notice of the execution of a search warrant to any resident of the City of _______ whose property is the subject of such a warrant, and refrain from participating in a joint search with any law enforcement agency absent assurances that such notice will be provided to such individuals during the search;
(h) refrain from undertaking or participating in any initiative, such as the Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), that encourages members of the general public to spy on their neighbors, colleagues or customers;
(i) refrain from the practice of stopping drivers or pedestrians for the purpose of scrutinizing their identification documents without particularized suspicion of criminal activity;
(j) report to the City Council any request by federal authorities that, if granted, would cause agencies of the City of _______ to exercise powers or cooperate in the exercise of powers in apparent violation of any city ordinance or the laws or Constitution of this State or the United States;

4. DIRECTS public schools and institutions of higher learning within the City of _______ to provide notice to individuals whose education records have been obtained by law enforcement agents pursuant to section 507 of the USA PATRIOT Act;

5. DIRECTS public libraries within the City of _______ to post in a prominent place within the library a notice to library users as follows: ""WARNING: Under Section 215 of the federal USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56), records of the books and other materials you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal agents. That federal law prohibits librarians from informing you if records about you have been obtained by federal agents. Questions about this policy should be directed to: Attorney General John Ashcroft, Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530 "";

6. Directs the City Council Chief of Staff to:

a. Transmit a copy of this resolution to Senators _______ and __________, and Representatives _________ accompanied by a letter urging them to:

  • support Congressional efforts to assess the impacts of the PATRIOT Act
  • monitor federal anti-terrorism tactics and work to repeal provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT and other laws and regulations that infringe on civil rights and liberties
  • ensure that provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act "sunset" in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
  • take a lead in Congressional action to prohibit passage of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, known as "Patriot II"

7. DIRECTS the City Manager to seek periodically from federal authorities the following information in a form that facilitates an assessment of the effect of federal anti-terrorism efforts on the residents of the City of _______:

(a) The names of all residents of the City of _______ who have been arrested or otherwise detained by federal authorities as a result of terrorism investigations since September 11, 2001; the location of each detainee; the circumstances that led to each detention; the charges, if any, lodged against each detainee; the name of counsel, if any, representing each detainee;

(b) The number of search warrants that have been executed in the City of _______ without notice to the subject of the warrant pursuant to section 213 of the USA PATRIOT Act;

(c) The extent of electronic surveillance carried out in the City of _______ under powers granted in the USA PATRIOT Act;

(d) The extent to which federal authorities are monitoring political meetings, religious gatherings or other activities protected by the First Amendment within the City of _______;

(e) The number of times education records have been obtained from public schools and institutions of higher learning in the City of _______ under section 507 of the USA PATRIOT Act;

(f) The number of times library records have been obtained from libraries in the City of _______ under section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act;

(g) The number of times that records of the books purchased by store patrons have been obtained from bookstores in the City of _______ under section 215___ of the USA PATRIOT Act;

8. DIRECTS the City Manager to transmit to the City Council no less than once every six months a summary of the information obtained pursuant to the preceding paragraph and, based on such information and any other relevant information, an assessment of the effect of federal anti-terrorism efforts on the residents of the City of _______;

9. DIRECTS all public libraries to have a policy that ensures the regular destruction of records that identify the name of the book borrower after the book is returned, or that identify the name of the Internet user after completion of Internet use;

10. ADVISES all persons in local businesses and institutions, and particularly booksellers, to refrain when possible from keeping records which identify the name of the purchaser, and to regularly destroy such records that are maintained, in order to protect intellectual privacy rights; and be it

11. DIRECTS the City Manager to transmit a copy of this resolution to Governor ____, and appropriate members of the State Legislature, accompanied by a letter urging them to ensure that state anti-terrorism laws and policies be implemented in a manner that does not infringe on civil liberties as described in this resolution;

12. DIRECTS the City Manager to transmit a copy of this resolution to President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft; and be it

13. FURTHER RESOLVED that the provisions of this Resolution shall be severable, and if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision of this Resolution is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be contrary to the Constitution of the United States or of the State of _______ or the applicability thereof to any agency, person, or circumstances is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this Resolution and the applicability thereof to any other agency, person or circumstances shall not be affected thereby

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