In a broad “anti-terrorism” campaign, the NYPD has been surveilling Muslims without cause. Now, the de Blasio administration is continuing the Bloomberg/Kelly defense of the program.
The AP first brought attention to the Demographics Unit — a division of the NYPD given the task of infiltrating mosques, developing relationships with young Muslims and focusing intelligence gathering on “ancestries of interest” that comprise 80 percent of the planet’s Muslim population. One former CIA agent turned police officer said he hoped to have an NYPD informant in every mosque within a 250-mile radius of New York City.
A lawsuit, Hassan v City of New York, was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Muslim Advocates in June of 2012, on behalf of nearly a dozen Muslim plaintiffs from New Jersey who claim to have suffered from the NYPD’s operations. The Bloomberg administration argued that the plaintiffs were not harmed by the NYPD, but by the AP story detailing the division’s unconstitutional activities. The case was dismissed but is on appeal.
Documents filed on October 7th by lawyers under the de Blasio administration confirm that the new Mayor’s team is sticking with the Bloomberg defense. They have closed the Demographics Unit but a month later the New York Times published a report on another NYPD unit: the Citywide Debriefing Team. That unit is tasked with recruiting vulnerable Muslims who have been arrested as informants.
A senior NYPD officer involved in the Demographics Unit testified that they did not produce a single lead, though they did compile an extensive list of killer Middle Eastern restaurants. (Photo: Wikipedia)