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NYPD Announces End of Muslim Demographics Unit

The New York City Police Department announced an end to its Demographics Unit. Although a positive step forward, questions remain whether it will be enough to rebuild the trust of the city’s Muslim community.

April 15, 2014

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: