A report has been released this week suggesting that after extensive research it has been confirmed that the New York Police Department (NYPD) is using “mosque crawlers” to spy on and detect any suspicious activity going on in New York City neighborhoods that harbor large pockets of Muslims.
The Associated Press report revealed that the NYPD is using measures within a secret division called the Demographic Unit to spy on and infiltrate minority neighborhoods, mosques, bars, bookstores, and cafes to monitor the daily life of people.
According to the report, undercover officers known as “rankers” are dispatched into minority neighborhoods in a human mapping program that aims to help the NYPD detect any signs of suspicious activity.
The AP also reported that the CIA was instrumental in helping the NYPD develop this spying mechanism within its intelligence unit.
The NYPD is denying allegations of the report. Paul Browne, Deputy Police Commissioner, told 1010 WINS that the story is “fiction.”
He also stated, “We follow leads wherever they may happen to go. We don’t have any such thing as ‘mosque crawlers’ – people just willy nilly going to mosques for no reason.”
Nevertheless, Browne has stated that the NYPD does not “apologize” for the techniques that have been adopted since September 11th 2001, as they have enabled the NYPD to thwart 13 plotted attacks on the city and protect New Yorkers.
The AP is standing its ground on the validity of the report, saying that it gathered information from “more than 40 current and former New York Police Department and federal officials.”
Although, the NYPD is denying the allegations, they do not surprise some people.
Cyrus McGoldrick, a Civil Rights Manager at the Council on American-Islamic Relations told 1010 WINS of the report, “I’m not shocked, I’m not surprised, but I hope for better.”
He also added that the report has, “Created a lot of fear in the community. It’s planted a lot of seeds of distrust and it’s a difficult time.”
With the release of the report, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has called for a federal investigation and Senate hearings on the report as they suspect the NYPD’s use of espionage against its own citizens is violating the U.S. Privacy Act of 1974.