Skip To Main

Congresswoman Clarke’s Statement on Disbanding of the Muslim Surveillance Unit

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on the announcement today that the New York Police Department will disband the “Demographics Unit,” which for more than a decade spied on Muslims without any reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed or would be committed in the future.

The information assembled by the Demographics Units included details about the mosques where Muslims went to worship, restaurants where they ate, the stores where they shopped for products and services, and maps that documented where Muslims went to play chess, cricket, or soccer. None of the information, often collected by spies placed in the Muslim community by the police department, resulted in any evidence of a crime or plans to commit a crime.

“The continued surveillance of the Muslim community was a disgrace – a repudiation of the values we share as Americans, that individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that each of us are entitled to privacy,” said Congresswoman Clarke, who had asked the Department of Justice to investigate the police department’s practice of infiltrating the Muslim community without any reasonable suspicion of a crime. “The assumption that some people are inherently suspicious based on their race or their religion violates both the Constitution of the United States and our basic sense of morality. I commend Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton for their decision to terminate this program. It is my hope that the New York Police Department will work with the people of the Muslim community to establish a relationship of trust and mutual respect.”

U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.