NYPD Spied On Rev. Al Sharpton During Sean Bell Protests
Black Leaders Denounce Dept. While NAN Contemplates Legal Action
Watchdog columnist Len Levitt of NYPD Confidential has obtained proof that the NYPD was spying on Rev. Al Sharpton while he and his National Action Network were planning protests in the wake of police officers being found not guilty of the murder of Sean Bell.
The informant, who isn't named in the document, went back relayed details of the "acts of civil disobedience" that NAN had planned to execute.
[Also Read: Rev. Al Sharpton: Silence Is Not An Option]
According to the Huffington Post:
The report, which is unsigned but dated May 3, 2008, appears to have been written by the lieutenant in charge of the Priority Targeting Unit to the Commanding Officer of Intelligence Operations and Analysis Section, who according to a 2008 police roster was Inspector Larry Nikunen.
This is not the first time the NYPD have sent snitches to infiltrate Sharpton. They have had their Shaeyes on him since the 1980s when he came into prominence for public defending and rallying for Tawana Brawley, the woman who falsely claimed to have been raped by three white men.
HuffPo also got word from a former informant that in 1998 the NYPD had plans to discredit or silence Sharpton by planting rumors that he was homosexual.
Sharpton has yet to be reached for comment but check out what some other prominent people had to say:
Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League
""The NYPDs spying actions are an intolerable abuse by law enforcement, and remind us of the bad days when J. EDGAR HOOVER recklessly spied on DR. KING and other CIVIL RIGHTS leaders in the 1960s. Its time for NYPD to disclose the full extent and nature of its spying operation on all Civil Rights organizations. We will not stand for a return to this abuse of process in the 21st CENTURY.""
Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church and Chairman of the Board, CNBC (Conference of National Black Churches) and National Action Network
"This challenges our most fundamental rights and ignites memories of the Gestapo tactics employed against Dr Martin Luther King Jr. by the police authorities during a sad moment in American History. In to many instances the NYPD appears to be an obstruction to individual liberty and justice. They have crossed the line here and must be held accountable."
Russell Simmons - Music & Business Mogul
"I am deeply concerned about the reports that the Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network were spied on by the NYPD. It is troubling to think that those who are ordered to protect us are in fact working against us. After reports that the NYPD spied on members of the Muslim community and on Occupy Wall Street and now Rev. Sharpton, we are again demanding that this type of behavior by our police department stop."
Benjamin Jealous, President & CEO of NAACP
"If NYPD is spying on civil rights leaders, it is outrageous and must be stopped." said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "Given the serious nature of the allegations and the history out which they arise, there is no acceptable response but for the city and the police department to show us all their cards. Our community must be certain that the people we count on to enforce the law are not breaking it."
Melanie Campbell, President & CEO of National Coalition on Black Civic Participation & Black Women's Roundtable
"I join my colleagues in expressing my deep concern on the abuse of NYPD's law enforcement spying powers against the National Action Network. The unjust investigations and targeting of civil rights organizations is unacceptable. We stand with NAN and others in the civil rights community calling for NYPD to be transparent about the nature of this investigation immediately."
Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition
African American leaders have historically been the subject of unlawful spying by law enforcement officials seeking to discredit our leaders and our movement. The revelation about the New York Police Department spying on Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network in 2008 are wrong - Police Commissioner Kelly, as he promised over a year ago, must issue a full fact finding report on the matter, fully disclose the spying activities of the police department and make restitution to Rev. Sharpton and NAN for this invasion of privacy.