The Demographics Unit at the NYPD was the central command of the Bloomberg administration's police spying program, the Associated Press reported. The Demographics Unit was "built with help from the CIA, which assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed." The NYPD spies "infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and catalogued every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames."
"Police hoped the Demographics Unit would serve as an early warning system for terrorism. And if police ever got a tip about, say, an Afghan terrorist in the city, they'd know where he was likely to rent a room, buy groceries and watch sports."
In testimony provided in a June 28 deposition as part of a longstanding federal civil rights case, NYPD Assistant Chief Thomas Galati said that none of the conversations the spying police officers overheard ever led to a case. "Related to Demographics," Galati testified that information that has come in "has not commenced an investigation."
"The NYPD is the largest police department in the nation and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has held up its counterterrorism tactics as a model for the rest of the country," according to the AP report. ... "Galati testified as part of a lawsuit that began in 1971 over NYPD spying on students, civil rights groups and suspected Communist sympathizers during the 1950s and 1960s. The lawsuit, known as the Handschu case, resulted in federal guidelines that prohibit the NYPD from collecting information about political speech unless it is related to potential terrorism. Civil rights lawyers believe the Demographics Unit violated those rules." ...Pages From Thomas Galati NYPD Handschu deposition EBT 6-28-12 Tcm28 8694 title="" target="_blank"