NEW YORK – Today, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) announced it will disband its Demographics Unit, which previously mapped Muslim communities in and around New York City. The department’s secret program would send plainclothes officers into mosques, restaurants, and neighborhoods to gather information on people’s mundane daily activities.
The Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice previously called for an end to this program as well as for the establishment of an Inspector General for the NYPD. The Center’s program released the following statements:
“The Demographics Unit needlessly spied on American Muslim communities, never producing any intelligence,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “We hope its dissolution marks a new approach to policing in New York and look forward to reforms that curb all unwarranted intrusions into Muslims’ personal and religious lives."
"It’s one thing to disband a unit. It’s another to change the way you do business,” added Michael Price, counsel in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “The NYPD must next change its policies on surveillance to rebuild trust with all New York Muslims.”
For more information, read:
- Blanket Spying on Muslims ‘Makes Us Less Safe’ (The Crime Report, March 25, 2014)
- Mayor de Blasio Takes First Step in Reforming Stop-and-Frisk Program (Press Release, January 30, 2014)
- Rethinking Radicalization (Report, March 8, 2011)