When Michael Bloomberg took to the lectern of a Brooklyn church Sunday morning, the billionaire apologized for the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk to racially profile millions and detain hundreds of thousands of black and Latino New Yorkers over his three terms as mayor.
” I now see that we could and should have acted sooner, and acted faster, to cut the stops ,” he said.” I was wrong, and I’m sorry .”
Some police reformers listened the apology–his second in four eras, after his safarus said of his documented autobiography of “locker-room talk” that” Mike has come to see that some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong “– as an important acknowledgment of the inequalities committed against a generation of New Yorkers of color, while others heard an insincere achievement of political maneuvering.
For me, “the worlds largest” astonishing parts of the 11 minute-long regret was what was missing from it: the misuse of the Bloomberg-era NYPD that impacted Muslim, Arab, and South Asian New Yorkers.
No less than Donald Trump–who has admired stop-and-frisk policing as a candidate and as president–has spoken admiringly about Bloomberg’s approach to New York’s Muslims. In November of 2015, candidate Trump spoke wistfully about how” for the purposes of the old government we had extraordinary surveillance going on in and all over the Mosques of New York City .” Asked if he would shut down mosques in answer to national security concerns, Trump’s answer was less than reassuring:” I would hate to get it on, but it’s something you’re going to have to strongly consider, because of some of the ideas .” He intent his stroll notes with a simple desire:” We have to bring back our intelligence agencies .”
Under Mayor Bloomberg, New York City suffered some of the worst abuses of the post-9/ 11 backlash. In our collective remorse and panic, New York City turned all too frequently to religious profiling and discrimination. Notoriously, the NYPD appointed a so-called Demographics Unit, a cadre of officers tasked with mapping where Muslim Americans lived. Developed in 2003 by CIA officer and NYPD official Lawrence Sanchez, the program sought to identify Muslim businesses, residences, and targets of worship.
Plainclothes officers “il be going” everywhere from regional barbershops to cricket clubs, chit-chat up anyone who they profiled as Muslim. These so-called ” rakers “, called for the figurative coals they smoothed over, simply profiled New Yorkers based on their hasten and doctrine. Other men, so-called “mosque crawlers, “ would monitor lectures, even when there was no evidence of wrongdoing.
Yes, this boondoggle was discriminatory. Yes, it was invasive. But it was also a terminated debris of fund. In more than 10 years of prying into the private lives of Muslim New Yorkers, the unit never rendered a single solid contribute . Not one.
While the Demographics Unit–disbanded under Bloomberg’s successor–was an abject los at protecting New Yorkers, it was effective at gathering information on immigrant communities. It’s hard to know just how many New Yorkers were stripped from their families because of information collected by NYPD policemen during Bloomberg’s tenure. What we do know is that information-sharing agreements between the NYPD and federal agencies allowed information to flow to ICE, despite New York’s predict of has become a sanctuary city.
The program’s psychological toll may have been greater still. Countless children and young adults were traumatized to be befriended by individuals they later recognise were undercover detectives . Many others gathered back from their religious life, dreadful that going to the mosque might objective in surveillance, or even more severe. Many imams avoided from religious counseling, are concerns that apparently sincere crises of sect might be a pretext, an effort to capture a damming, out-of-context remark. Parents faced the agonizing selection of whether to let their children join a Muslim student association and find a religious community, or whether it was too much of a risk. In short, Bloomberg oversaw one of the most chilling expeditions against religious autonomy in modern American history.
As with stop-and-frisk, Bloomberg toy the part of the ostrich when information of the Demographics Unit was firstly reported. He interred his head in the sand, pretending that investigations were not motivated by religion. Even after the AP blew the lid off the narration in a Pulitzer Prize-winning probe, publishing NYPD documents that explicitly presented anti-Muslim profiling, Bloomberg maintained there was no bias.
Sadly, the impact of Bloomberg’s anti-Muslim surveillance was felt far beyond the five parishes. Not merely did the Demographics Unit look at Muslim communities far outside of New York, but the programme itself gleaned anti-Muslim partisans from near and far.
In Trump’s executive lineups boycotting immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries, we read Bloomberg’s anti-Muslim policing plans given the force of the presidency. Perhaps Bloomberg would terminate the Muslim Ban if elected as chairman. But if he’s reluctant to even apologize for his anti-Muslim policing, it’s hard to have much religion in him for the future.
Albert Fox Cahn (@ FoxCahn) is the founder and executive director of The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project( S.T.O.P .), a New York-based civil rights and privacy group and a fellow at the Engelberg Center for Innovation Law& Policy at N.Y.U. School of Law. His beliefs are solely his own.