The NYPD is the biggest police force in the country, with over 34,000 uniformed officers patrolling New York’s streets, and 51,000 employees overall — more than the FBI. It has a proposed budget of $4.6 billion for 2013, a figure that represents almost 15 percent of the entire city’s budget.
What has the NYPD been doing with all that cash and manpower? In addition to ticketing minorities for standing outside of their homes, spying on Muslims who live in New Jersey, abusing protesters, and gunning down black teens over weed, the NYPD has expanded into a massive global anti-terror operation with surveillance and military capabilities unparalleled in the history of US law enforcement.
In an email published by WikiLeaks, an FBI official joked about how shocked Americans would be if they knew how egregiously the NYPD is stomping all over their civil liberties. But what we already know is bad enough. Here’s a round-up of what the department has been up to lately.
The New York Times has reported that the department’s Harbor unit has 6 submarine drones; four cost $75,000 and the two others cost $120,000, according to the Times. They are developing a portable radar that can see under clothes in order to search for weapons. Militaristic “Hercules teams,” are deployed to random parts of the city armed with automatic weapons and body armor. Their explicitly stated role is to terrify people. In a piece by Popular Mechanics, detective Abad Nieves described the unit’s job thusly: “The response we usually get is, ‘Holy s—!’ [...] That’s the reaction we want. We are in the business of scaring people–we just want to scare the right people.”
Last year, one of us asked a heavily armed Hercules team member what they were up to at the Lincoln Center. “Keeping you safe!” he barked, rolling his eyes at our unbelievable stupidity.
The more you know?