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NYPD disbands spy unit

By Rich Bockmann

The city announced earlier this week that the Police Department will shut down the unit that targeted Muslim groups.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday the NYPD was closing its Demographics Unit, which is at the center of an ongoing lawsuit claiming the department illegally spied on Muslim groups in New Jersey.

“Our administration has promised the people of New York a police force that keeps our city safe, but that is also respectful and fair,” he said. “This reform is 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 Jackson Heights-based DRUM South Asian Organizing Center said that while the news is encouraging, the unit represents only a small portion of the NYPD’s surveillance programs.

“We also emphasize the need for full accountability of the past policies and the harm done to families, as the most important step to creating any meaningful and substantive change,” said Fahd Ahmed, DRUM’s legal and policy director.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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