So how did today's City Council meeting, held in light of recent reports alleging that the NYPD spied on pretty much every single Muslim in New York, go? Not well — especially for police commissioners named Ray Kelly. Faced with intense questioning and heated accusations, Kelly was largely unsuccessful in his attempts to assuage the Council's worst fears regarding racial profiling and community betrayal.
Take, for instance, this bit:
"Do you have one of the Irish community, do you have one of the Greek community? How many communities have you mapped out in the same way that you’ve mapped out the Muslim community?" said [Councilman Daniel] Dromm.
"They're giving the tickets — unfair tickets," said Osman Chowdhury, a cab driver who claims the police keep tabs on him because of his Bangladeshi roots.
And also this:
"It looks like we are targeting Muslim neighborhoods and communities," Councilman Brad Lander said. “That’s not good for us. We have people out there who are partners who feel the trust is betrayed. ... Without some more independent oversight to figure out what the standards are, it’s hard to believe we’re getting the balance between civil liberties and protection right."
Of course, Kelly doesn't see it that way. "We don't racially profile," he insisted. "We follow leads wherever those leads take us." He also assured the room that he and the NYPD "don't [decide which citizens to spy on] ethnically, we do it geographically," and it just so happens that Muslims tend to hang out in geographically suspicious places, like mosques and Gracie Mansion and sidewalks and anywhere else there's geography. Sound shady? Possibly, but don't worry — the CIA will sort it all out soon.
Kelly Faces Questioning Over Alleged Spying On Muslims [NY1]
Council Members Grill Police Leader on the Surveillance of Muslims [NYT]
Earlier: NYPD Even Spied on the Muslim Leaders Who Were Helping Them
CIA Will Investigate Its Role in NYPD Intelligence Program
NYPD Looked to CIA for Cues in Clandestine Muslim Surveillance Program