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At a press conference Monday evening, Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a sympathetic reaction to reports that a gunman killed four people at a Jewish school in France, and linked it with the NYPD’s out-of-state surveillance efforts, Capital New York reports.

“It’s easy to sit here and say New York City should just take care of New York City,” he said. “We are taking care of New York City by having police officers around the world and we’re gonna continue to do that and keep us all safe.”

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After prodding by a reporter from the Village Voice, referring to arrests made by NYPD officers of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, Bloomberg said the police “keep us safe, and next time you walk by a police officer, say Thank you, Sir, because your right to ask this question is protected by that man or woman.”

Monday morning, 110 groups including civil liberties and Muslim advocacy groups asked Attorney General Eric Holder for a justice department investigation of the NYPD’s surveillance program of Muslim individuals and institutions.

“We are in compliance with all the laws as far as we can tell,” Bloomberg responded, adding that “everybody’s got a right to write a letter.” He said polling showed people approved of the practice.

“Overwhelmingly, people say yes,” he said. “Now that doesn’t make it right, but does it mean that a hundred small institutions writing a letter is indicative of what most organizations think or what most organizations would like to do?”

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