De Blasio: Disbanded Unit Alienated Muslim-Americans

NEW YORK (AP) -

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the NYPD’s disbanded demographics unit alienated Muslim-Americans — the very people whom he said could assist law enforcement in the fight against terror.

In a wide-ranging interview on WNYW, de Blasio said the surveillance “unfortunately” sent the message that “there was a suspicion” about people in Muslim communities. He said instead they should have been treated as allies in the fight against terror.

The unit, launched after 9/11, was disbanded last year. A review concluded the same information could be better collected through direct contact with community groups.

The mayor also said that it’s his job to defend the city’s interests in Albany. Asked about his contentious relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, he cited former Mayor Ed Koch, whom he said used to dole out praise when the governor helped the city — and speak out when the city wasn’t being served.

De Blasio says there’s nothing new about governors and mayors agreeing and disagreeing. But the only way to “get results … is to call it out.”

The governor has previously said he and the mayor each have a constituency to serve and there will be times when they agree and disagree.