Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hop on Cop

Via Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Oh dear, NYPD, you're disappointing me. I was awfully pleased to hear last month about the disbanding of the so-called Demographics Unit sending plainclothes officers to spy undercover on the city's Muslim community, but now:

The men, all Muslim immigrants, went through similar ordeals: Waiting in a New York station house cell or a lockup facility, expecting to be arraigned, only to be pulled aside and questioned by detectives. The queries were not about the charges against them, but about where they went to mosque and what their prayer habits were. Eventually, the detectives got to the point: Would they work for the police, eavesdropping in Muslim cafes and restaurants, or in mosques?
Turns out there's a debriefing team for interrogating Muslims suspected of sometimes extremely minor infractions (arguing with a traffic cop over a parking ticket) that is actually dedicated to recruiting them as informers: not so much to report on crimes or contemplation of crimes as to supplement or, now, replace those undercover officers of the Demographics Unit just generally spying on religion; 220 interviews in the first quarter of 2014 (or the first three months of the de Blasio administration and Bratton commissionership, which I thought was planning to stop illegal profiling).
Bobby Hadid, a former sergeant with the unit and himself a Muslim immigrant from Algeria, said he had become increasingly uncomfortable with what he and his colleagues were doing, particularly when it came to asking questions about religion of many of the prisoners, who had been arrested for petty crimes or violations.
“We are detectives of the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division,” he said. “We are there to collect intelligence about criminal activity or terrorism. Why are we asking, ‘Are you Muslim?’ ‘What mosque do you go to?’ What does that have to do with terrorism?”
I was struck by a bit of explanation provided by John Miller, deputy commissioner in charge of intelligence:
“We were looking for people who could provide visibility into the world of terrorism,” he said. “You don’t get information without talking to people.”
Well yes, there's that. Did it ever occur you that officers could do that in uniform? Or for that matter that speakers of Somali, Arabic, Dari, etc. could be maybe open members of the community serving as beat cops? That's something the FBI totally can't do!
Diversity training, June 2010, via NYPD.
As opposed to Sgt. Mourad Mourad working undercover in a neighborhood where he perhaps didn't belong:
A New York City police officer, facing a possible grand jury investigation into the shooting of 16-year-old African-American, was named ‘Cop of the Year’ on Thursday by the NYPD Muslim Officers Society according to The Amsterdam News.
The recipient of the award, Sgt. Mourad Mourad,  a nine-year veteran of the NYPD, was involved in the controversial shooting of Kimani Gray in 2013, leaving the teenager dead on a New York City street.
Mourad, along with his partner Jovaniel Cordova, were working undercover in an East Flatbush neighborhood on March 9 when they attempted to stop and question Gray on the street. According to the officers, they shot and killed Gray when he pulled a gun on them....
It has also been reported that Mourad and his partner have  previously been named in five separate federal lawsuits costing the city a total of $215,000 in settlements. (Tom Boggioni for Raw Story)
From Kimani Gray's Facebook page.
Update next morning:

Sgt. Mourad had the decency to decline that award and skip the ceremony.

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