Following March 22 terrorist attacks in Belgium, Ted Cruz tried to push his long-time draconian agenda to patrol “Muslim neighborhoods.”
Of course, the statement was met with a lot of angry backlash and rightly so.
Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton slammed the idea as “unconstitutional and wrong” and “dangerous,” respectively. American Muslims and other citizens who rejected the idea responded with a fun hashtag called #MuslimNeighborhood on Twitter.
However, when the New York Police Department criticized Cruz for supporting surveillance of Muslim communities it seemed a little (too) ironic.
"I would remind the senator that he lives in the United States of America," said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton. "The statements he made today is why he is not going to become president of this country. Because we do not need a president who doesn't respect the values that form the foundation of this country."
Bratton then mentioned how NYPD employs “over 900 very dedicated” Muslims “many of whom do double duty” and that many serve in the U.S. military.
It was a bold statement, no doubt. However, considering the NYPD conducted the illegal surveillance on American-Muslims for over a decade, Bratton’s bold statement is more an attempt to save face.
Once known as the Demographics Unit, the “monitoring” program began in 2003 during the Bush administration. Police authorities sent detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and record almost all the everyday tasks of members of the religious community.
There was not even the slightest hint from the NYPD about the practice or any kind of notification issued to representatives of Muslims under watch regarding the covert operations.
The spying ended in 2014, and it was a positive step, but it’s worth mentioning that the existence of the decade-long unlawful program was kept a secret from the masses up until 2013.
Sure, the program was dismantled under Bratton and he admitted that it never accomplished anything, but Bratton himself defended the program in 2007 when he headed the Los Angeles Police department.
"This is not . . . targeting or profiling," Bratton stated. "It is an effort to understand communities."
Bratton had a valid point when he said Cruz “doesn't respect the values that form the foundation of this country.” But the comissioner’s own record suggests he was a hypocrite to say so.