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Civil liberties, rights groups call for NYPD head Ray Kelly to resign

(photo courtesy @RDevro)

The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC) is today calling for the resignation of both police commissioner Ray Kelly and NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. "Kelly's and Browne's admission of their involvement in the production of The Third Jihad marks the blatant bigotry and lack of transparency that permeates the NYPD's approach to New York's Muslim communities," the group wrote in a press release today. A press conference is scheduled for 11 am today in New York.

MACLC says it contacted the NYPD about the racist Clarion Fund training video over a year ago, only to be rebuffed by the department, which claimed it had not shown the video to any cadets. A Brennan Center freedom of information suit revealed that this was a lie, and that in fact at least 1,500 cadets had seen the film, department records show. 

As MACLC writes, "Taken in context of the Associated Press's reporting about the NYPD's extensive surveillance programs–which literally map Muslim communities, and all aspects of Muslim life in New York City–it is now clear that the NYPD's dealings with New York's diverse Muslim communities are based on bigotry and blanket suspicion."

"Under Kelly's watch, the NYPD has developed an approach to policing counterterrorism that seems to start from a place of suspicion for New Yorkers with any identifying Muslim characteristics," said Amna Akbar, Supervising Attorney at the CLEAR program (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility), and Adjunct Professor at CUNY School of Law. "It is unethical and illegal for the NYPD to conflate religion, race, and national origin with suspicion for terrorism. The NYPD needs to make some serious changes to its divisive and troubled approach to Muslim communities."

The group is calling for the resignation of Kelly and Browne, as well as a city council investigation into anti-Muslim practices at the NYPD, and a retraining of the 1,500 cadets who were exposed to the racist video. 

It's a bad day for the Kellys. Ray Kelly's son, a former Fox News reporter, is facing rape charges.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.