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NYPD disbands unit that spied on Muslims to go after ‘real bad guys’

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The New York Police Department has disbanded its special unit that was tasked with putting Muslim communities under surveillance.

The unit sent plainclothes officers to neighborhoods with large Muslim populations and into their mosques and restaurants, in hopes of gathering intelligence about looming terrorist attacks — and in so doing, ignited fire among some civil liberties groups. So Police Commissioner Bill Bratton agreed that the program had to go, the New York Post reported.

The unit, called the Demographics Unit, was largely kept secret, until The Associated Press revealed its existence in 2011. By then, it had been in operation since 2003.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, of the unit's disbanding: "Our administration has promised the people of New York a police force that keeps our city safe, but that is also respectful and fair. This reform is a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys," the New York Post said.

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