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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New York City: Prototype of the American Police State?

John W. Whitehead
March 12, 2012

“I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world. I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entree into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have.”—Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York

“There are no safeguards to ensure that the NYPD doesn’t break the law. So far as I know, there are no mechanisms in place to ensure that the NYPD does not become a rogue organization.”—Leonard Levitt, author of NYPD Confidential: Power and Corruption in the Nation’s Greatest Police Force

New York City has long been celebrated as the cultural capital of the world, renowned for its art, music and film. Presently, however, the “city that never sleeps” is serving as the staging ground for a futuristic police state operated, in large part, by Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Police Department (NYPD). Although the NYPD was recognized for its countless acts of bravery during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the department has gained notoriety in recent years for its overt racial profiling, a spying program which targets Muslim communities and political activists, and a stop-and-frisk program that has targeted more than 4 million New Yorkers—the majority of whom were black or Latino and had done nothing wrong—over the course of the past seven years.

Boasting a $4.5 billion budget, a counterterrorism unit that includes 35,000 uniformed police officers and 15,000 civilians, and a $3 billion joint operations center with representatives from the FBI, FEMA, and the military, the NYPD operates much like an autonomous Department of Homeland Security—only without the constraints of the Constitution. Read More