In defense of civil rights in New York

August 24, 2012

The New York Police Department’s decade-long surveillance program targeting Muslim communities is “reminiscent of the logic behind the country’s shameful World War II experience in racial profiling, the roundup of citizens of Japanese descent,” Alan Levine of Latino Justice writes in the National Law Journal. Levine argues that the program does not pass constitutional muster because the blanket surveillance was neither compelling or necessary:

How, for example, does investigating an elementary school, or placing informants on a college rafting trip or in a random house of worship, lead to the prevention of a criminal plot? If the answer is that by doing so police might gather information about extremist criminal activity, then it is no less true that informants in Christian schools, churches and social clubs might glean information about fundamentalists planning anti-abortion violence. But such blanket surveillance would be universally condemned as a bigoted indictment of an entire religious community — and a grossly inefficient use of police resources. The Muslim surveillance program deserves the same condemnation.

Read the whole article here. Meanwhile, Democracy Now reports that the NYPD Muslim spy program generated no leads or terrorism investigations. Watch the program here.


2 Responses to “ In defense of civil rights in New York ”

  1. Dan Saba on September 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Not only do such actions explicitly violate the U.S. Constitution, they also waste taxpayer dollars that could be used for more efficient means of preventing terrorism that do not involve the persecution of the Muslim community. Terrorist acts are perpetrated by a few extremist members of a much larger community that does not condone such violence. The police and U.S. government should use targeted methods that are both effective and efficient in cost.

  2. Nicole on October 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    The problem is that the US government is allowing its fear of terrorism to box an entire race of people under a negative connotation which is entirely unjustifiable and ignorance. There are a multitude of other prevention methods that can be practiced to stop the terrorism and that starts internally with improving the organization and communication within the CIA and taking threats to our nation more seriously.