By Arturo Garcia | Agence France-Presse | Aug. 21, 2012
The New York City Police Department’s heavily-criticized spying on Muslim residents did not produce any leads or help any investigations of terrorist activities, in a report a civil rights group calls a “vindication” of the city’s Muslim community.
According to the Associated Press, testimony unsealed Monday evening revealed that NYPD Associate Chief Thomas Galati said no conversations monitored by the department’s “Demographics Unit” ever led to a case.
A spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called the findings “an absolute and complete and total vindication of the New York Muslim community” that demonstrates that profiling is counterproductive.
“They spied on restaurants, students, businesses, cab drivers, Internet cafes, mosque leaders,” Ibrahim Hooper told Raw Story Tuesday morning. “Think of how much wasted time and energy and other resources went into this effort to come up with nothing when they could have been devoted to actual leads of criminal and terrorist activity.”
The department initially denied the unit’s very existence after initial reports on it last August. One undercover officer said he was ordered to move into an ethnic neighborhood and “act like a civilian” for the purposes of gaining information on residents.
In his June 28 deposition, Galati said the tactics did not generate any useful information.
“I never made a lead from rhetoric that came from a Demographics report, and I’m here since 2006,” he said. “I don’t recall other ones prior to my arrival. Again, that’s always a possibility. I am not aware of any.”
The discovery of the unit led to criticism from civil rights groups, and CAIR had called on the state legislature to investigate the practice, though Rep. Peter King (R-NY) at one point denied the department was engaging in racial profiling.
“All they got from it was a complete chill in relations with the Muslim community and its leaders, who they spied on as they were meeting with them,” Hooper said. A call to King’s office seeking comment has not been returned as of Tuesday morning.