The Manhattan district attorney should investigate a high-ranking NYPD official for possible perjury after he recently downplayed cops’ record of surveilling Muslim New Yorkers, says the City Council’s only Muslim member.
Councilwoman Shahana Hanif (D-Brooklyn) wants DA Alvin Bragg to review comments made by Deputy Police Commissioner John Miller before the City Council on March 18, claiming there’s “no evidence” cops ever spied on Muslims in mosques in a “legitimate” investigation.
The claim drew indignation from Hanif, who noted the NYPD was previously exposed for systematically spying on Muslim communities in the aftermath of 9/11. The NYPD eventually disbanded the responsible unit, though it never admitted wrongdoing in court.
“The signal it sends is that Muslims are not seen in this city, that basically, Muslims are invisible in this city,” Hanif said of Miller’s remarks. “That’s really harmful in a city that has over a million Muslims.”
Ernest Hart, Deputy Commission Legal Matters said, “Having reviewed the facts and Commissioner Miller’s testimony, such an allegation is baseless.”
Bragg’s office said it would review the referral from Hanif.
Mayor Adams is among the lawmakers who have condemned Miller’s remarks, which came during a Council hearing on the NYPD budget. “What we did was wrong,” Hizzoner said on March 21.
The pro-privacy Surveillance Technology Oversight Project is joining Hanif’s request to Bragg.
“When police officers lie, they not only hide the truth, they undermine democracy,” said STOP’s executive director Albert Fox Cahn. “When they lie under oath to elected officials … they really undercut the entire belief in civilian control over police.”
Since taking office Jan. 1, Bragg has faced criticism for his proposed reforms to prosecutions as the city reels from an ongoing spike in crime.
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“I’m hoping that he takes us seriously and will listen to us and understand our pain and the impact that John Miller’s comments have had on us as a community that has not healed from the traumatic incidents following 9/11,” said Hanif.