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Men participate in Friday Prayer at the Omar Mosque on February 24, 2012 in Paterson, New Jersey. The New York Police Department (NYPD) has come under renewed criticism following revelations that officers crossed into New Jersey to conduct surveillance on Newark and area muslims, including students at Rutgers University.
The LAPD wants to reassure the Muslim community that it does not engage in racial or religious profiling, as accusations of exactly that kind of profiling have cropped up in New York City.
Five years ago the NYPD launched an undercover operation in nearby Newark, New Jersey, where they put virtually every mosque, Islamic school and Muslim-owned restaurant under surveillance.
New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the operation, but Muslim leaders were outraged. They said police treated an entire religious community as terrorists.
That’s why LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Downing is making the point that police here have formed a strong bond with Muslim communities through dialogue in open forums.
Downing insists the LAPD follows intelligence guidelines when conducting surveillance operations. Police monitor individuals when there’s criminal behavior, he says — not because of their ethnic origins.