Posted by Omar Baddar on February 27, 2020 in Blog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Edy Semaan | esemaan@aaiusa.org | (315) 664-6378

February 27, 2020

Washington, D.C.—Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry issued the following statement on the comments made by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, during an interview on PBS News Hour:

“Today, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was finally required to address the discriminatory surveillance of American Muslims and Arab Americans by the New York Police Department under his tenure. As Mayor, Michael Bloomberg surveilled where American Muslims ate, socialized, gathered, prayed and studied. The NYPD literally mapped our communities across three states, causing systemic self-censoring, distrust of any interaction with the government, and untold harm to our communities.

When pressed about the discriminatory program, instead of issuing an unequivocal apology, Mayor Bloomberg’s response demonstrated a lack of understanding of the failures of the profiling program and a seemingly ongoing suspicion of our communities—both are inexcusable. One’s ethnicity or faith is not grounds for law enforcement scrutiny.

The NYPD’s suspicion of Arab and Muslim communities in the tri-state area was both constitutionally and factually warrantless. It reflects the securitized view that governments and politicians have held—without merit—about our communities for decades. These practices are bigoted and baseless—and have no place in credible policy discussions. The changes NYPD was required to make under the terms of the lawsuit settlement agreements demonstrate that.   

As Mayor Bloomberg has been rightly and extensively criticized for his abhorrent and racist “Stop and Frisk” policy, he should also be held accountable for NYPD’s spying on our communities during his tenure.”