Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker lashed out at the New York City Police Department on Wednesday, saying that officials failed to inform the city that it was conducting a widespread spying operation on Muslim neighborhoods, the Associated Press reports.
Booker, responding to a report obtained by the AP, said that the NYPD would not have been allowed to conduct the surveillance operation in his city had officials been informed that individuals were being investigated "based on nothing but their religion, that strikes at the core of our beliefs and my beliefs very personally, and it would have merited a far sterner response," Booker told the AP.
He described the NYPD's actions as "deeply offensive" and called on his state's attorney general to investigate the incident.
According to the AP, in mid-2007 the NYPD's secretive Demographics Unit fanned out across Newark, photographing every mosque and eavesdropping on Muslim businesses. "The findings were cataloged in a 60-page report, obtained by the Associated Press, that served as a police guidebook to Newark's Muslims. There was no mention of terrorism or any criminal wrongdoing."
Gov. Chris Christie, who was the top federal prosecutor in the state in 2007, called the report "disturbing." He told the AP that he didn't recall being approached by the NYPD about surveillance in the city or a threat that would justify it.
This strikes us as nothing more than modern-day McCarthyism whereby "hundreds of American citizens were cataloged — sometimes by name, sometimes simply by their businesses and their ethnicity — in secret police files that spanned hundreds of pages." The NYPD should be made to answer for this extreme violation of civil rights.
Read more at the Associated Press.