New Evidence of NYPD’s Controversial Spy Unit

August 31, 2011

In a follow up to its investigation we wrote about last week, the Associated Press published documents today that give new evidence of a controversial New York Police Department spy unit overseen by a veteran CIA officer that singles out Muslim communities for surveillance and infiltration.  Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo report,

“The Demographics Unit, a squad of 16 officers fluent in a total of at least five languages, was told to map ethnic communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and identify where people socialize, shop and pray.”

An NYPD presentation [PDF] details the program to “identify and map ethnic hotspots” and specifies “ancestries of interest,” including “American Black Muslim” and 28 countries, almost all of which are Muslim-majority.  An NYPD memo [PDF] from 2006 also described an “NYPD supervisor rebuking an undercover detective for not doing a good enough job reporting on community events and ‘rhetoric heard in cafes and hotspot locations.'”

The documents contradict what NYPD spokesperson Paul Browne told the AP before it published its investigation, “There is no such unit.” “There is nothing called the Demographics Unit.”

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