On April 15th the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced that its Muslim surveillance unit had been disbanded.
The surveillance unit came “under fire by community activists who accused the department of abusing civil rights.”
According to the Associated Press, the surveillance unit “relied on plainclothes officers to eavesdrop on people in bookstores, restaurants, and mosques.”
Starting in 2011, “the AP documented that police had systematically spied on Muslim neighborhoods, listened in on sermons, infiltrated colleges, and photographed law-abiding citizens as part of a broad effort to watch communities where terror cells might operate.”
This documentation came in a series of reports that “stirred debate over whether the NYPD was infringing on the civil rights of Muslims and illegally engaging in religious and ethnic profiling.”
The AP reports also revealed then-police commissioner Ray Kelly “had brought in a CIA official to help develop an intelligence division unlike that of any other U.S. police department.” This “prompted an investigation by the CIA’s inspector general,” which found the agency had not broken any laws forbidding it from “domestic spying.”
However, the IG did criticize a CIA agent’s involvement “without sufficient supervision.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.