(NEW YORK, NY, 12/4/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today condemned the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) announcement that it will launch a drone surveillance program.
NYPD officials announced the purchase of 14 drones in total, including 12 smaller quadcopters, and two larger drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras that can see through walls.
SEE: NYPD Launches Drone Program
NYPD Unveils New Unmanned Aircraft System Program
In August 2016, the NYPD Inspector General found a pattern of systematic religious profiling by the NYPD, with 95 percent of intelligence investigations targeting the Muslim community. At the same time, the NYPD has failed to monitor white supremacist and right-wing extremist groups.
In October, the NYPD drew widespread criticism for failing to include the Proud Boys white supremacist organization in the department’s “gang database” following their October group assault on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
SEE: An Investigation of NYPD’s Compliance with Rules Governing Investigations of Political Activity
Second Proud Boy Arrested, McInnes Says More Will Turn Themselves In
“It’s wrong of the NYPD to take to the skies before tackling ground-level privacy concerns,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn. “These drones will leave no corner of our lives private. The benefits of the drones are hazy, but the cost to New Yorkers’ privacy is crystal clear. The NYPD has a history of targeting Muslim New Yorkers and ignoring the threat posed right-wing extremists and white supremacist. The NYPD shouldn’t be permitted to purchase these new tools until it shows it can use its existing tools without discriminating against marginalized communities.”
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 571-766-6273