In a battle of words between concerns over minority interests, political interests, security interests of the nation and interests of law enforcement opinions have been flying in a heated atmosphere. The latest statement of the NYPD is that it had not broken any laws by conducting a special surveillance operation of Muslims in a city of a neighboring state, Newark of New Jersey.
For a surveillance operation done in 2007, the NYPD had documented “locations of concern” that included Muslim-owned businesses, Islamic schools and dozens of mosques in neighboring Newark.
Chris Christie, the New Jersey Governor said that he was concerned by the reports of such a surveillance operation within New Jersey having been conducted by NYPD, while Newark Mayor Cory Booker said the matter was “deeply disturbing” and asked the state attorney general to investigate possible infringements of civil liberties.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the fray for the first time after The Associated Press reported of the surveillance operation conducted by NYPD on Muslims in Newark. The Chicago Mayor said “We don’t do that in Chicago and we’re not going to do that…. What happened in Newark and New York years ago is something else. What we do here in Chicago is different.”
Meanwhile, New York police spokesperson Paul Browne stated on Thursday that “There has been a suggestion that what we are doing doesn’t comport with legal requirements and that’s not the case … Everything we’re doing is done constitutionally.” She added, “Newark police officials were aware and were briefed before and afterwards and a Newark police liaison accompanied NYPD personnel.” The statement was in response to the assertion of Newark Mayor Cory Booker that Newark police were ignorant about the NYPD operation.
New York Police Commissioner is widely recognized as a secular person and have been praised along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg for diligently prosecuting hate crimes against Muslims and for defending the right to build a mosque near the 9/11 attack site.
However, a recent video that surfaced showed Kelly saying “the true agenda of much of Muslim leadership here in America…infiltrate and dominate America.”
Peter Farrell, senior counsel of the New York City Law Department, stated that “there is no constitutional prohibition against a police department in collecting information … What’s unconstitutional is if they then use that information to chill someone’s First Amendment rights or to impose harm.”