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NEW YORK – The New York Police Department has shuttered the unit that created maps and collected other information on Muslim communities in the New York City area, according to a report today by The New York Times.
“The NYPD’s disbanding of a unit that targeted New York Muslims and mapped their everyday institutions and activities is a welcome first step for which we commend Commissioner Bratton,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “We hope that the Demographics Unit’s discriminatory activities will not be carried out by other parts of the NYPD.”
“The Demographics Unit was only one component of a huge, discriminatory surveillance program that has sent informants and NYPD officers to spy on mosques, charities, student groups, and other mainstays of New York Muslim life,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “We look forward to an end to all aspects of the bias-based policing that has stigmatized New York's Muslim communities and done them such great harm.”
Shamsi is counsel in a federal lawsuit challenging the spying program filed on behalf of Muslim New Yorkers and organizations represented by the ACLU, the NYCLU, and the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project of Main Street Legal Services, Inc. at CUNY School of Law.
The lawsuit charges that the NYPD's actions imposed an unjustified badge of suspicion and stigma on hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers. The suit seeks systemic reforms that will end the NYPD’s spying program in which entire communities of New Yorkers have been singled out simply because of their religious beliefs.
Information on the lawsuit is at: