City Councilmember Lander Releases First Mini Report in “Investigation Needed” Series
Today, City Councilmember Brad Lander released a mini report (below) that outlines what is known about the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslim communities, and calls for an NYPD Inspector General to investigate the program. The mini report is part of a new series, called “Investigation Needed,” which will highlight unresolved controversies around NYPD policies that have never received independent investigation.
The NYPD surveillance program was first revealed through leaked documents published by the Associated Press in 2011. The documents appear to show a program that violates the Handschu guidelines, a consent decree which governs NYPD surveillance activities. NYPD Assistant Chief Thomas Galanti admitted in testimony this June that the widespread surveillance program never resulted in a lead or investigation.
Councilmember Lander joined Councilmember Jumaane Williams in introducing the NYPD Inspector General Act in June 2012, which would give the police department independent oversight for the first time. An Inspector General, appointed by the Mayor, would have the authority to review NYPD policies, conduct investigations, recommend changes to make the Department more effective, and make regular reports to the Police Commissioner, Mayor, City Council, and public about its findings. The Inspector General would also have subpoena power to compel the testimony of any person and to require the production of documents.
Inspectors General in other cities and at the federal level help law enforcement improve its counterterror and crime fighting procedures. For example, the FBI’s Inspector General audited the agency’s counterterror efforts and recommended a national risk assessment of terrorist threats and provided constructive criticism to make the FBI’s terrorism threat identification strategy more effective.