At this point, it's not much of a surprise that police from New York spied on Muslims, whether it's in the city, on surrounding college campuses, or, as in the Associated Press's latest report, cities all around New York. In particular, the AP report from Wednesday focused on Newark, New Jersey, where the dossier police compiled on the city's Muslims took Mayor Corey Booker by surprise. Of course, the presidents of colleges where NYPD officers spied on Muslims also didn't know they were there, as Yale's president said on Tuesday.
The funny thing about Wednesday's report is that all this secrecy made for some dumb mistakes, such as getting congregations' ethnic backgrounds wrong. "If police ever had to rely on the database during an unfolding terrorism emergency as they had planned, those errors would have hindered their efforts," wrote reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman. And it's not like the police were covertly infiltrating terrorist meetings or something. They were taking note of the stock-room employees of discount stores: " 'A Black Muslim male named Mussa was working in the rear of store,' an NYPD detective wrote after a clandestine visit to a dollar store in Shirley, N.Y., on Long Island."
Following the reports, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters, "The police department goes where there are allegations. And they look to see whether those allegations are true... That's what you'd expect them to do. That's what you'd want them to do. Remind yourself when you turn out the light tonight." Or when you go to the dollar store.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.