In a conversation by phone on Friday, Trump expressed his disapproval of the closing of “the finest surveillance system of any system in the world,” referring to the NYPD’s now-shuttered Demographics Unit.
“They say that numerous things came out of there, very positive things, having to do with stopping problems,” Trump said.
The Demographics Unit generated not a single lead or terror investigation. Assistant Chief Thomas Galati testified as much during a 2012 deposition for a federal civil rights case concerning the unit.
The unit’s mandate was to map and surveil Muslim communities in the metropolitan area—from local restaurants to bookstores and mosques. It didn’t help. Mayor Bill de Blasio and police commissioner Bill Bratton closed up the shop in 2014.
Bratton wrote an op-ed in the Daily News about the unit and Muslim surveillance last month, noting that creating a “looming presence to intimidate Muslim neighborhoods with a show of force” goes against our principles.
Trump says he doesn’t think Bratton believes what he says about surveilling Muslim neighborhoods.
“I believe that he’s saying that, but I’m not sure that he believes it himself.”