Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced publicly that his department will never conduct blanket surveillance of Muslims the way the New York Police Department had done in Newark, N.J., when he was the chief of police there.
“We are deeply committed to respecting the civil rights of all Chicagoans,” McCarthy said, the Wasington Times reports.
McCarthy and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been laboring to calm local Muslims since The Associated Press exposed the NYPD spying program in Newark. The AP reported last month that in 2007, the NYPD’s clandestine Demographics Unit targeted the heavily Muslim Newark, photographing mosques and eavesdropping on Muslim businesses. Earlier, the AP reported that the department was conducting similar surveillance in New York City, constructing a database of places where Muslims live, shop and pray.
When the AP story broke, last February, New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a strong defense of the NYPD surveillance program, according to the Boston Globe.
“We just cannot let our guard down again,” Mayor Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show on WOR-AM. “We cannot slack in our vigilance. The threat was real. The threat is real. The threat is not going away.”