Newark and the NYPD

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

February 22, 2012 1:36:06 PM PST
Something of a spitting war going on now between the NYPD and the police department and Mayor's office in Newark. The battle involves the NYPD's controversial and much-criticized intelligence gathering on Muslims.

Seems the NYPD's self-defined jurisdiction involved Muslims in Newark. It has already been revealed that the NYPD ventured into Suffolk and Nassau Counties on Long Island - clearly outside its jurisdiction - in its intelligence campaigns.

The 60-page report - obtained by the Associated Press - that came from the NYPD's work in Newark, contains summaries of businesses and their customers. The campaign included taking photos and eavesdropping on conversations inside stores and businesses owned and/or frequented by Muslims.

Now, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the police chief of Newark say they never authorized any spying, and were never told about it.

"Wow," was Mayor Booker's response when told of the report. "This raises a number of concerns. It's just very, very sobering."

So what in the world was going on? The NYPD, compiling its own intelligence information after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, going into other communities - and basically spying on residents?

Turns out that the former police chief of Newark - a former NYPD top brass - reportedly did know about it. But didn't tell the Mayor.

Still, if the NYPD was acting like its own CIA, then the chorus of protests is about to explode. And the protest may be led by Mayor Booker and Gov. Chris Christie.

Late this afternoon, Gov. Christie hinted he might call for an investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General. Does the NYPD have some 'splainin' to do? We'll see. Our Jim Dolan is on the story for us, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we'll have reaction to the death of veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin, a native of Long Island. Tonight her family is remembering her - as are so many journalists who worked alongside her in violent, war-torn countries. Colvin was killed overnight in the city of Homs in Syria ? a hotbed of rebellion. The building she was in - a home to journalists - was targeted by government troops and blasted by rockets.

She was on CNN last night, describing the killing of civilians in Syria. And it's a fair question to ask whether government forces sought her out after the interview.

I'm just sayin'.

And our Dr. Sapna Parikh takes a look at a new pill that is supposed to improve your skin. Sapna checks it out.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg with his AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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