Friday, June 17, 2016
NYPD Surveillance Unveiled: City Claims to Lose Docs on 1960s Radicals, Then Finds 1 Million Records
There has been a major break in the decade-long fight to unveil records related to the New York City Police Department’s surveillance of political organizations in the 1960s and 1970s. In recent years, the NYPD has come under fire for spying on Muslim communities and the Occupy Wall Street movement. But decades ago, the NYPD spied extensively on political organizations, including the Young Lords, a radical group founded by Puerto Ricans modeled on the Black Panther Party. The Young Lords staged their first action in July 1969 in an effort to force the City of New York to increase garbage pickups in East Harlem. They would go on to inspire activists around the country as they occupied churches and hospitals in an attempt to open the spaces to community projects. Among their leaders was Democracy Now! co-host Juan González. We speak with Baruch College professor Johanna Fernández, who has fought for a decade to obtain records related to the NYPD’s surveillance of the group. Last month, the city claimed it had lost the records. But this week its municipal archive said it had found more than 520 boxes, or about 1.1 million pages, apparently containing the complete remaining records. We’re also joined by Fernández’s attorney, Gideon Oliver.