NYC college president troubled by NYPD spyingBy DAVID B. CARUSO
THE Associated Press | October 28,2012NEW YORK — The president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice said he is “deeply troubled” about reports that the New York Police Department sent a paid informant to spy on the school’s club for Muslim students.
School President Jeremy Travis sent a letter to students and professors Thursday reacting to an Associated Press report on the 19-year-old informant, Shamiur Rahman, who said he quit working for the NYPD at the end of the summer after growing uncomfortable with the job.
Rahman said his assignments included attending lectures hosted by John Jay’s Muslim Student Association, photographing people attending its events, and identifying its members and leaders.
The college, located in Manhattan, is attended by thousands of students hoping to pursue a career in law enforcement.
In the letter, Travis said he was unaware of the spying, and expressed concerns about using informants for surveillance where there was no evidence of a crime.
“Any surveillance practices that interfere with constitutionally protected activities such as free speech, freedom of association and the free exercise of religion must be considered inconsistent with the mission and values of our College,” he wrote.
Police Department spokesman Paul Browne wouldn’t comment on Travis’ concerns. In an email Saturday, he contested only one part of the letter, in which Travis cited a recent report by another news organization that quoted Browne as confirming that Rahman had indeed been an NYPD informant. Browne denied that he had made that confirmation.
In the past, NYPD officials have repeatedly said the department only uses undercover investigators or confidential informants when it has information indicating the possibility of unlawful activity.
Addressing the college community, Travis said in his letter that “I trust that you would agree that, in certain limited circumstances it is appropriate for law enforcement agencies to use informants to uncover criminal activity. There is no evidence, however, that this is the case at John Jay and we have not been advised otherwise.”
Rahman said his work as an informant began last winter, just as the AP was publishing a series of stories about the police department’s use of informants and undercover investigators to monitor Muslim student groups around the northeast U.S.
Those articles prompted letters from several college presidents expressing concerns about the tactic.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended the department’s intelligence-gathering operation as necessary to root out any potential terrorist plots.MORE IN Wire NewsMONROVIA, Liberia — One of Liberia’s most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola, a government... Full StoryATLANTA — Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts... Full StoryWASHINGTON — If you have health insurance on your job, you probably don’t give much thought to... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1932, President Hoover orders the Army to evict bonus marchers from Anacostia Flats; author Malcolm Lowry born this day, as is Jackie Kennedy and Mike Bloomfield; Stephen Crane on consuming one's own heart.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Earth barely avoids being blasted by immense solar flare in 2012, astrophysicists say next time might not be so lucky.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1898, Nelson Miles leads American troops into Puerto Rico during Spanish-American War, Bob Dylan electrifies Newport Folk Festival in 1965, author and longshoreman Eric Hoffer born this day in 1902.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: No charges to be filed inconnection with crash of city police cruiser, farmers group turn to Internet to raise money for solar project, Street Talk polls passersby about legal marijuana.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information for Friday, July 25, and easily digestible news tidbits: Mysterious enormous hole in the Siberian tundra baffles scientists.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Ever wonder why the otherwise straight-lined Appalachian chain's got a big crimp in it in Pennsylvania and and New York?