BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The New York City Police Department was monitoring Muslims at the University at Buffalo . Now, a newly released report says the NYPD was also watching Buffalo's Somali population.
According to a reporter who wrote a book on the New York City Police Department, the NYPD sent three officers to western New York to do surveillance work on the Buffalo Somali community on the city's west side.
Leonard Levitt, author of the book NYPD Confidential obtained documents from the NYPD's Intelligence Division that talked about their investigation into the Somalians. You can read what he found here.
The report states the officers were collecting license plates and were monitoring individuals through surveillance cameras at what appeared to be Buffalo Somalian mosques.
According to the report, the New York City officers were working in late 2008 and early 2009 with Erie County Undersheriff Richard Donovan, but they could have started the surveillance much earlier.
Levitt said, "They talk about getting a hold of a confidential informant and debriefing him, so obviously something was going on before that. They also talk of an ongoing investigation."
What the report does not say, is why the group was being monitored.
Levitt said, "The question that's not being answered here in this report is what was the reason for this? I mean it's one thing to monitor the websites of Muslim student organizations, which the NYPD also did, but it's another thing to send people way upstate to Buffalo for what purpose?"
According to a local refugee service executive director who did not want to be identified, the agency did meet with members of the NYPD in 2008.
The agency was told the officers were trying to gain information into the Somali community, which they say isn't unusual.
However, the group said they did not believe they were spying on the Somalians and that they would not have helped them get in touch with the community if the group knew spying was being done.
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