NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio told a group of Muslim supporters Wednesday that they won’t have to live in fear of being under constant surveillance if he’s elected mayor.
As WCBS 880′s Jim Smith reported, de Blasio, the front-runner in the Nov. 5 general election, said that, on his watch, NYPD surveillance tactics would only be authorized to follow up on specific leads and that the police force would be under the supervision of a new inspector general.
“The efforts of surveillance have to be based on specifically specific information, and obviously you need to go through a careful vetting process,” de Blasio said during a rally at Columbus Park in Downtown Brooklyn.
Based on internal NYPD reports and interviews with officials involved in the programs, the NYPD has conducted wholesale surveillance of entire Muslim neighborhoods, chronicling daily life including where people eat, pray and get their hair cut, according to a series of reports by The Associated Press. Police also reportedly infiltrated dozens of mosques and Muslim student groups.
In addition, the NYPD secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing, according to the AP.
The NYPD has said its investigations target individuals suspected of criminal activity and are constitutional.
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