NEW YORK: Police Department of the New York city has disbanded a secret programme designed to spy on Muslims to identify potential terrorism threats.
New Police Commissioner William Bratton reviewed the programme and found that the same information collected by the unit could be better collected through direct contact with community groups, officials said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, in his statement called the move “a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys.”
The Demographics Unit, conceived with the help of a CIA agent working with the NYPD, assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed.
Two federal lawsuits had been registered in the past regarding squad, and anger showed from civil rights groups.
It is also regarded to have sowed Muslim mistrust for law enforcement.
The unit – in operation since 2003 and later renamed the Zone Assessment Unit.