Photo: Flickr/Elvert Barnes
The New York Police Department is facing a strong backlash after years of controversial and racially-divisive tactics used to combat terrorism and crime.Justin Elliot of ProPublica refutes the widely-reported claim that the NYPD has prevented at least 14 full-blown terrorist plots since 9/11 by detailing each of the alleged plots and concluding that “the 14 figure overstates both the number of serious, developed terrorist plots against New York and exaggerates the NYPD’s role in stopping attacks.”
Last month a New Jersey-based Muslim group filed a lawsuit against the NYPD that directly attacks the types of invasive activities used by NYPD to uncover terrorism, arguing that widespread surveillance of Muslims has been based solely on religion and not any potential threat.
We’ve previously reported the department has been covertly infiltrating Muslim communities as well as extensively monitoring Muslim college students. The NYPD even admitted to showing an anti-Muslim video to thousands of officers.
The NYPD is also facing wide criticism over its stop-and-frisk policy, which the mayor has defended as a tool to keep the city safe.
Russ Buettnet and William Glaberson of the New York Times report judges are becoming the loudest critics of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy as recent federal and state rulings question whether the city is sidestepping the Constitution in an attempt to keep crime rates low.
Under stop-and-frisk NYPD officers stopped nearly 700,000 people last year, 87 per cent of them black or Hispanic, and frisked more than half of those stopped.
But nine out of 10 people stopped were neither arrested nor ticketed.
Legal experts told the Times the city will eventually have to redefine the stop-and-frisk policy and the change will “fundamentally alter how the police interact with young minority men on the streets.”
Erica Goode of the Times reports the model for change may come from a settlement of a Philadelphia class action lawsuit – which alleged that police were disproportionately stopping African-American and Hispanic men without sufficient cause – as city leaders agreed to implement safeguards to ensure that stops are conducted legally.
The liberties taken by police are no surprise as an anonymous survey of 2,000 retired NYPD officers found that rampant crime-report manipulation – in the form of downgrading crimes to lesser offenses and discouraging victims from filing complaints – has been common practice for at least a decade, the Times recently reported.
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