- 8/13, Anne Flaherty, Associated Press, Voters mad about NSA spying face uphill battle
- 8/12, Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker, Taken
- 8/12, Spencer Ackerman, Guardian (UK), Intelligence committee withheld key file before critical NSA vote, Amash claims
- 8/12, David E. Sanger, New York Times, N.S.A. Leaks Make Plan for Cyberdefense Unlikely
- 8/12, Phillip Bump, The Atlantic, Obama’s NSA Reforms Dovetailed With a Reversal on His Drone Ones
- 8/12, Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, Judge Rejects New York’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy
Posts Tagged ‘stop and frisk’
As Janet Napolitano steps down as Secretary of Homeland Security, President Obama has looked for a new candidate to fill the position. Raymond Kelly, Police Commissioner of New York, has been cited as a possible successor to Napolitano, but his appointment would likely exacerbate the profiling and surveillance of Muslims throughout the country.
A Secretary of Homeland Security should be able to protect this country from true acts of terrorism and harm without eroding the civil liberties of American citizens of any faith, but Kelly’s possible appointment puts this possibility into question.
Raymond Kelly served as police commissioner for the NYPD from 1992 to 1994, and again from 2002 to the present. During his second term, New York City was shaken by the attacks of 9/11, and (speaking from my own observations as a native New Yorker) stricken by a xenophobic, anti-Muslim paranoia.
Kelly fed this paranoia, developing the Demographics Unit of the NYPD (now the target of a constitutional challenge), which was specifically designed to map and track Muslim Americans in the Tri-state area absent any suspicion of wrongdoing. The unit did not notify local law enforcement or elected officials when the surveillance took place outside of New York City, essentially subverting local law by fiat.
- 6/25, Shahid Buttar, The Progressive, Snowden and the NSA: Who’s the Real Criminal?
- 6/24, Keith Rushing, Rights Working Group, RWG Condemns the Corker Border Deal For Irresponsibly Militarizing the Border While Failing to Include Needed Human Rights Protections
- 6/24, Charlie Savage, New York Times, Bill to Ease Transfers of Guantánamo Detainees Moves Through Senate
- 6/24, J. David Goodman, New York Times, 2 Bills on Police Oversight Advance Amid Objections From Bloomberg
- 6/24, The Editorial Board, New York Times, Reining in Stop-and-Frisk
- 6/24, Matt Sledge, Huffington Post, Senators Say There’s A ‘Significant’ Inaccuracy In NSA Surveillance Fact Sheet
- 6/24, Michael Kelley and Gus Lubin, Business Insider, It Looks Like The FBI Director Gave A Wrong Answer To Congress About NSA Spying
- 6/21, John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke, Reuters, The judges who preside over America’s secret court
Two bills that would significantly reform oversight of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) are nearing a crucial vote. The bills are scheduled to be voted out of committee early next week will then face a vote on the floor of the New York City Council.
One bill would substantially broaden protections against profiling by police.
The other would appoint a commissioner at an independent agency to oversee the NYPD. These reforms have been championed by a broad based coalition, Communities United for Police Reform, that includes the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
actual or perceived race, national origin, color, creed, age, alienage or citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or housing status as the determinative factor in initiating law enforcement action against an individual, rather than an individual’s behavior or other information or circumstances that links a person or persons to suspected unlawful activity.
The second bill would require that the commissioner of New York CIty’s Department of Investigations:
investigate, review, study, audit and make recommendations relating to the operations, policies, programs and practices, including ongoing partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, of the new york city police department with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of the department, increasing public safety, protecting civil liberties and civil rights, and increasing the public’s confidence in the police force, thus building stronger police-community relations.
Both bills are crucial steps forward in the struggle to make the NYPD more accountable to the people of the city that it serves. New York City residents can call their council members to encourage them to support both bills when they come to the floor.
Click here to identify your council member and find an easy script to guide your phone call, along with other action tips.
5/9, Peter Van Buren, Salon, The government whistleblower who wouldn’t be silenced
5/9, Brian Bennett and Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times, Intelligence report identified vulnerability before Boston bombing
5/9, Alicia A. Caldwell and Eileen Sullivan, Salon, Boston police commissioner: We need more cameras
5/9, Hazel Dukes, Amsterdam News (NY), NAACP condemns Quinn’s support of stop-and-frisk
5/9, Barbara Ross, Daily News (NY), Judge backs NYPD’s refusal to detail its surveillance of Muslim community under Freedom of Information Law
5/9, VIDEO, Huffington Post, FBI Planning To Revise Wiretapping Laws
5/8, Laurie Jo Reynolds and Stephen F. Eisenman , Creative Time Reports, TruthOut, Tamms Is Torture: The Campaign to Close an Illinois Supermax Prison
5/8, Scott Thistle, Bangor (ME) Daily News, Bill to allow police to use drones without search warrant heads to Maine Senate
5/7, Erin Durkin, Daily News (NY), On Muslim Surveillance, Bloomberg Questions Mayoral Candidates’ Intelligence
5/7, Charlie Savage, New York Times, U.S. Weighs Wide Overhaul of Wiretap Laws
5/7, Staff, Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, After Boston, Little Change in Views of Islam and Violence
5/6, John Knefel, Rolling Stone Magazine, Everything You’ve Been Told About Radicalization Is Wrong
- 4/5, Editor, Dallas (TX) Morning News, Texas Legislature takes up privacy tech with bills on drone surveillance, phone tracking
- 4/5, Brendan Sasso, The Hill, Intelligence lawmakers to amend cybersecurity bill behind closed doors
- 4/4, Kim Zetter, Wired, Google Takes on Rare Fight Against National Security Letters
- 4/4, Neal Conan, NPR, The Least Bad Options For Guantanamo Bay
- 4/4, Cyril Josh Barker, Amsterdam News (NY), Muslims speak out against stop-and-frisk
- 4/4, Marina Portnaya, RT, ‘Drones fly, children die’: US activists launch massive anti-drone campaign
- 4/3, Bruce A. Barrett, CT Post, Moral leadership requires facing our faults
On Saturday, March 23, 150 people filled St. Catherine of Genoa Church in Brooklyn to mourn the death of Kimani Gray. Outside, police surveyed the scene from the street and from rooftop. On the night of March 9 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, sixteen year-old Kimani Gray was walking home from a birthday party when he was shot and killed by two plainclothes policemen. Many witnesses say that Gray “pleaded for his life” as the police fired eleven shots, seven of which hit him.
While Gray was simply returning from a birthday party with friends, the police no doubt “saw a gang,” rashly taking stock of the age, gender and race of the boys before them. Some reports have argued that Gray allegedly pulled a .38 revolver on the officers (without firing), but at least one witness has denied that Gray drew any weapon. Gray’s possible weapon possession has raised questions about his potential gang affiliation. Any possession of firearms or gang affiliation on Gray’s part is irrelevant, though, and only detracts from the conversation—The tragedy of Gray’s murder, above all else, speaks to the unnecessary and dangerous militarization and surveillance of American ghettos.
Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk programs, communities of color like East Flatbush have been subject to near-constant surveillance. Rosa Squillacote of the Police Reform Organizing Project in New York City commented in the wake of Gray’s death, saying that as young men of color, they fear that “if [they] go outside, [they're] being watched.” Her comment was specifically in response to stop-and-frisk programs, which operate on a racial bias (87% of those stopped by the NYPD in 2011 were black or Latino and weapons were found in less than 0.02% of those cases), but it applies to a broader state of living in New York City as well.
There exists a long history of police surveillance and profiling in lower-income, majority non-white neighborhoods in New York City. This was evidenced in the nights following Gray’s death, when reporters noted scores of police surveilling his East Flatbush home. Mere days after his death, the neighborhood was overrun: “Walking east along Church Avenue from Nostrand last Thursday afternoon, The Observer counted two police officers on every corner.” Those police were allegedly there to manage the protests after Gray’s murder, but a similar scene would likely have greeted any passerby before Gray’s death.
The following update issued by the Center for Constitutional Rights was written by Director of Education and Outreach, Annette Warren Dickerson on April 1, 2013. Updates on the stop-and-frisk trial are available online throughout the proceedings.
The second week of the historic Floyd v. City of New York trial challenging the constitutionality of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program featured a shortened court schedule because the week was bookended by religious holidays. It was only fitting, therefore, that the week ended with faith leaders from a broad cross-section of the city’s many faith communities packing the courtroom and speaking about the negative impacts of stop and frisk on their communities.
In court, the bulk of the week’s testimony was from police officers and supervisors who had been involved in the illegal stops of our plaintiffs and witnesses. Skillful questioning by CCR and co-counsel lawyers laid bare contradictions in their stories, showed that the reasons they now cite for stops weren’t cited at the time, and revealed that supervisors failed to meaningfully review stops throughout the entire NYPD chain to ensure they were lawful.
One officer, Luis Pichardo, said that he was under direct pressure to make numbers — five summonses per tour, and specific numbers of stops and arrests — at the time he stopped CCR’s plaintiff Deon Dennis. Other officers had testified to the existence of quotas in week one, but Pichardo’s admission was particularly significant because he was a hostile witness.
One of the most significant developments of the week centered on a piece of evidence not actually introduced yet. On March 5, the NYPD’s chief of patrol issued a memo, “effective immediately,” requiring all officers to include an elaboration of the circumstances and factors involved in a stop in their paperwork. As it happens, this was the day after CCR filed its remedies brief in the case, which includes exactly this suggested revision of the UF 250 form in its list of injunctive reliefs sought. The city sought to introduce this memo into evidence. The judge indicated that it could not be introduced at this time because there was no officer present in court who could testify to it, but indicated that it would be in evidence once properly admitted.
On March 11, a series of organizations released a report entitled “Mapping Muslims,” which traces the human impact of the NYPD”s illegal spying program targeting Muslims in and around New York City. The report, based on interviews with 57 members of Muslim communities in New York City, takes stock of the spying programs’ effects on religious practice, freedom of speech, social and community relations, law enforcement relationships and college campuses.
In 2011, the Associated Press revealed that the NYPD, assisted by the CIA, was mapping and tracking Muslim residents and their businesses and places of worship through a secret squad, known as the “Demographics Unit.” However, the revelations of the AP failed to curtail the deeply racist and discriminatory pseudo-ethnographic project, which now goes by the euphemism, the “Zone Assessment Unit.”
The interviews conducted for the report make clear that the NYPD’s activities suppressed and chilled the practice of many Muslim’s faith. Individual interviewees observed:
It’s as if the law says: the more Muslim you are, the more trouble you can be, so decrease your Islam.
There are always parked, unmarked cars outside of mosques.
The impact on first amendment protected speech and community openness was found to be similarly chilling. According to Hamza, owner of a business monitored by the NYPD’s Demographics Unit:
I don’t allow Al-Jazeera on in our hookah bar. Particularly when things flare up in the Middle East. We can’t control what people start saying in response to the news, and we never know who else is in the bar listening.