New Jersey officials are angry over a recent NYPD report detailing extensive surveillance, by the law enforcement organization, on the Muslim community in Newark. Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the report Friday morning saying it was both “appropriate” and “constitutional”.
BY CELIA LLOPIS-JEPSEN
On Feb. 24, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended a secret NYPD report on the Muslim community in Newark. Details of the report became public earlier in the week, and New Jersey officials expressed concern.
The Associated Press published the entire police report online. It maps out Newark’s Muslim community, listing the Muslim shops, restaurants and schools there — from Dunkin Donuts franchises with Muslim owners to mosques.
Mohammed Mohammed manages Dollar Deal, a small discount store on Broad Street that was listed in the report. He didn’t know that until this Wednesday, when journalists showed up at his store. Mohammed said the news concerned him.
“That sounds like you’re singling out people,” he said. “Like other people, we are the same taxpayer people and we are Americans.”
Mohammed wasn’t alone in being troubled by the report. Newark’s police department and mayor Cory Booker also released statements saying they had not known the NYPD was monitoring Muslims there. Even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said at a press conference that he had been kept in the dark.
“I don’t remember as we’re sitting here today and I don’t know that I ever knew. I don’t have any recollection of ever being briefed about this,” Christie said.
But this morning New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood by the NYPD. On John Gambling’s show on radio station WOR-AM, Bloomberg said the police hadn’t done anything wrong.
“Everything the NYC police department has done is legal, it is appropriate, it is constitutional,” the mayor said, adding that police couldn’t simply wait to respond to terrorist activity. “We’ve got to do everything that the law permits us to do to prevent another terrorist attack.”
Governor Christie said his state’s attorney general was investigating whether the NYPD had crossed any lines. Democratic Senator Bob Menendez asked the US attorney general and the CIA to do the same.