With Disbanding of NYPD Spy Unit, Mayor Makes Good on Big Promise

By Bruinius, Harry | The Christian Science Monitor, April 16, 2014 | Go to article overview

With Disbanding of NYPD Spy Unit, Mayor Makes Good on Big Promise


Bruinius, Harry, The Christian Science Monitor


The administration of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton began their long-promised reform of New York Police Department tactics Tuesday, disbanding a controversial domestic spying unit that had been monitoring Muslim residents in both New York and New Jersey.

Along with the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy, which allowed cops to frisk anyone they felt could be a terrorist threat, the surveillance unit caused bitterness among Muslim and other minority residents and prompted a number of federal lawsuits charging the NYPD with unconstitutional racial and religious profiling.

This anger helped catapult Mr. de Blasio into City Hall last fall. Languishing in the polls early in the primaries, de Blasio did not shy away from outspoken criticism of the police policies of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, which launched the candidate's unexpected and meteoric rise, culminating in a record landslide win.

"Our administration has promised the people of New York a police force that keeps our city safe, but that is also respectful and fair," said de Blasio in statement Tuesday. "This reform is a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys."

The surveillance unit, which had been shaped with help from the CIA in the aftermath of 9/11, has been largely inactive since January, NYPD officials said. Officers assigned to the Zone Assesement Unit - the new name for the program, which had long been called the Demographics Unit - have been reassigned to other duties within the department's Intelligence Bureau.

For more than a decade, the NYPD spy unit had sent "rakers" and "crawlers" into Muslim shops, mosques, and civic organizations, including two grade schools and a number of college student groups. The unit, which had also set up surveillance cameras in Muslim neighborhoods, sought to create leads to identify terror suspects and create a map of community movement and behavior.

Civil rights groups have called this "suspicionless surveillance" and point out that the surveillance program never generated a single lead for suspected terrorism.

In spite of that fact, a federal judge in New Jersey in February dismissed a lawsuit brought by a group of Muslim residents. He rejected the argument that they had been singled out simply because of the way they prayed, violating their First Amendment right to religious freedom and their 14th Amendment right to equal treatment under the law.

"While this surveillance program may have had adverse effects upon the Muslim community...," wrote US District Judge William Martini, "the motive for the program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but rather to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary, law-abiding Muslims. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

With Disbanding of NYPD Spy Unit, Mayor Makes Good on Big Promise
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.