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Letter: By Infiltrating Protests, NYPD Infringes New Yorkers’ Constitutional Rights (New York Times)

To the Editor:

Your report that the New York Police Department is infiltrating protests is only the most recent in a series of revelations about the Police Department’s bad habit of spying on political activity. And like those other revelations, this one, too, raises major concerns about the Bloomberg administration’s respect for constitutional rights.

After the Feb. 15, 2003, antiwar demonstration, we learned that the department was interrogating protesters about their political affiliations after arresting them for minor offenses. A year and a half later, at the demonstrations around the Republican National Convention, the department unlawfully fingerprinted hundreds of people and videotaped every demonstrator in sight. And the department now maintains a permanent videotape file of lawful protest activity — a practice the New York Civil Liberties Union is challenging in court.

As we learn more about our government’s vast program of surveillance in the name of national security, we must wonder how much we haven’t learned yet. It’s enough to make you want to stay home from the next political demonstration — and that’s exactly the problem.

Donna Lieberman
Executive Director
New York Civil Liberties Union

As bold as the spirit of New York, we are the NYCLU.
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Civil Liberties Union