NYPD Says ‘Trust Us’ on Potentially Dangerous X-Ray Vans Roaming the Streets of New York

The New York Police Department, apparently, believes it should have the power to see through walls and that New Yorkers should just blindly trust them not to abuse it.

In 2007, ABC News reporters Richard Esposito and Ted Gerstein wrote about the NYPD’s use of X-ray vans, or Z Backscatter Vans, to secretly see inside cars to protect President George W. Bush’s motorcade in 2004. While the U.S. military uses these vehicles to search for roadside bombs in Afghanistan, the department won’t say how it’s using the invasive technology on the streets of New York City today. But beyond the very real privacy questions the technology poses, there are also questions revolving around possible health risks to the public.

The technology, much like the now retired backscatter machines used by TSA at airport security checkpoints, uses x-ray radiation to do what no human eye can, like see through clothing. The kind of ionizing radiation used by the machines, notes ProPublica investigative journalist Michael Grabell, exposes unwitting bystanders “to ionizing radiation, which can mutate DNA and increase the risk of cancer.”

Despite these public privacy and health concerns, the NYPD doesn’t want those it protects and serves to know any details about the technology.

The department denied a Freedom of Information Law request by Grabell, who wanted information from the NYPD about any public health risks, the NYPD’s prior use of the vans, whether the department gets a warrant before it uses them, or how long the NYPD holds on to images the vans capture. The NYPD also won’t say how much the vans cost, though their reported price tag is steep — between $729,000 and $825,000 for each vehicle.

Last week, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a motion for leave to file an amicus brief urging the Appellate Division, First Department to uphold a lower court’s decision requiring the NYPD to release the information. When the NYCLU’s press release prompted reporters to question the NYPD’s policies surrounding the vans, Commissioner Bratton assured them everything was above board.

“They’re not used to scan people for weapons,” Bratton said. “The devices we have, the vehicles if you will, are all used lawfully and if the [NYCLU] and others don’t think that’s the case, we’ll see them in court — where they’ll lose. At this time and the nature of what’s going on in the world, that concern of theirs is unfounded.”

We’d like to believe that the NYPD is using X-ray vans lawfully. But the trouble is that we have no information about how they are used – whether it’s lawful, whether it has health risks, or how much it intrudes on our privacy. And the NYPD is refusing to share any of this information even after it was ordered to by a court.

And that's anything but democratic policing. 


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Law & Order - Peek-a-boo


maybe the cops can xray, drug test and give a colon exam at every minor traffic stop and charge it to your insurance and a new obamacare "benefit" for your safety.

Anonymous adult

Really, you had to add comments about colon exams & politics? Are you in middle school or something? Try to stay on topic like a real grownup

Private snfu Bo...

So after 911 ? And the Cia so called integration scandal, Judging by the x -ray , Sentiment projection of concern , post stolen Hoover File's 1970's , They are on the hunt for C.S. Lewis Screw tapes Worm Wood post 1928 post Hitler 1937, post 1953 Worm Woods? Post JFK , test subjects or Hot spot Cell Signal Subjects ? They are scaning for all possible subjects that could be impacted from or by with out or with lsd / ayahuasca drugs via emr / rf conductive dental mercury Amalgam 13th Amendment cold war sleepers enslaved to react Operation Mind Control. Seem they should be Asking Clinton an Obama alot more questions in the email matters or with Bengazy. Obama care is far from a worthy title of reform given it did nothing to address the on going abuses of our constitutional representative republic via abuse of admin law in placation of the 1930\'s inceptions of the fda or even the fcc in defense of the protection for the use of dental Amalgam, Even post fact of the mis or dis-organised creation or the lacking of professionalism to carry out the sentiment of Minamata convention on mercury 2013 & its back ground medical concern at about 100 plus years . More over the lack of upholding the contextual plight is more confusing After the back ground concerns seeing the signal corps training cartoons of World War Two such as Private SNAFU Booby Traps 1944. For a historian its fact would add in translations of or for allegorical meanings of stories such as like what can be read in the work of C.S. Lewis, I paraphrase Ending the battle of the silver chair wo uld answer accrual projection concepts in the relationship to inventions such radios radar sonar the 1st tv's to active cell phones in 70 plus years concerns and theoretical plights behind fictional characters such in the screw tapes letters and his badgering of poor worm wood in seemingly cryptanalytical messages of encouragement to answer some of the mindless madness of 3rd Reich for even Hitler him self as I understand he was to have had forms of it . EMR/ RF or ionizing conductive impacts on Amalgam filings or the phone bridge effect and the misdiagnose of mental illness for induced ptsd tinnitus effects , confusing personality disorders , human temperament paradigm shifts definitions, schizoaffective disorder variations, dementia & alzheimer\'s symptoms or induced forms of Autism spectrums. atop other medical factors like noted in The \"Koss\" Case.

Citing the Work Interaction Between Electromagnetic Radiation and Toxic Metals
by Charles Masur, MD

non-ionizing radiation, part of the EMF spectrum that includes Extremely Low Frequency fields (ELF) used for electricity, or Radio Frequency radiation (RFR) used for wireless communications.

Outlawing it is one thing to stop the future uses, Yet actively ignoring or even out right lying to those that have it left to suffer insult of misdiagnose and mistreatment is out right appalling and a disgrace to the history and plights of doctors. There is no sense in the on going abuse of discretionary opinions of agency's doctors insurances companies or even the courts backed by the fda et al in light of the lies and or would be plights of Obama care the medical devices the tax.


Why would anyone trust them?


As someone who got cancer from an overdose of X-rays in my childhood, this is especially scary to me. While they still had those machines at the airport, I had to have patdowns every time, humiliating and ridiculous. This cannot be allowed!!!


At the airport, pregnant women could opt for a pat-down if we were worried about health risks to the fetus. They're taking this choice away from us. Awful.


"At this time and the nature of what’s going on in the world…" Yeah, more of the right-wing scare tactic used to erode our rights. I suggest that New Yorkers start blowing up these vans, even if the cops are still inside. FUCK THE FASCISTS in this country.


So what happens if you're pregnant and this van is directing this radiation at your unborn baby!


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