FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2013, file photo, visitors socialize after a Jumu'ah prayer service outside the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge and mosque in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The New York Police Department targeted the mosque as a part of a terrorism enterprise investigation beginning in 2003, spying on it for years. On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, the NYPD confirmed that it has disbanded the special unit that operated that surveillance program. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File) (The Associated Press)
FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2013, file photo, a group of people hold signs protesting the New York Police Department’s program of infiltrating and informing on Muslim communities during a rally near police headquarters in New York. On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, the NYPD confirmed it disbanded the special intelligence unit that monitored Muslim communities in New York and New Jersey. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File) (The Associated Press)
NEW YORK – Muslim groups and civil liberties advocates are applauding the decision by New York Police Department officials to disband a controversial unit that tracked the daily lives of Muslims as part of efforts to detect terror threats. But they say there are concerns about whether other problematic practices remain in place.
The NYPD said Tuesday it had disbanded the surveillance program by its Intelligence Division and that detectives assigned to the unit had been transferred to other duties within the division.
The program relied on plainclothes officers to eavesdrop on people in bookstores, restaurants and mosques. The tactic was detailed in a series of stories by The Associated Press and became the subject of two federal lawsuits.