NEW YORK – Despite uproar caused by scandals of spying on Muslim communities in the United States, a new poll has found that New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly enjoys a strong support among New Yorkers.
"New Yorkers brush aside the gripes about police surveillance of the Muslim community,” Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement cited by Reuters on Tuesday, March 13.
“Voter approval of the way police are handling terrorism is through the roof and overall approval for police in general and for Commissioner Ray Kelly is undented by criticism.”
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The poll by Quinnipiac University found that 58 percent of New Yorkers approve the way the New York Police Department dealt with Muslims.
Only 29 percent of respondents said police dealt with Muslims unfairly, while 13 percent did not know or had no answer.
Sixty-three percent of respondents said they approve the way New York police are doing their job.
Some 31 percent of respondent disapprove.
Eighty-two percent of those polled said that NYPD has been effective in combating terrorism, against 14 percent.
Kelly himself won an approval rating of 64 percent to 25 percent, which fell within the normal range for him.
Kelly's all-time high Quinnipiac rating of 71 percent came in May 2011 and his all-time low of 52 percent came in January 2007.
"The numbers have been consistently high," said Carroll.
"People think the cops do a good job."
The survey included 963 New York City voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent.
The survey follows a number of scandals, in which New York police involved in spying on Muslim communities in the US.
Last year, the Associated Press revealed that the NYPD sent out undercover officers into ethnic communities to track their daily life and monitor mosques as well as Muslim student organizations.
It also revealed that the NYPD intelligence had established so-called Demographics Unit using plainclothes police officers to monitor ethnic groups in the metropolitan region.
The AP also found that the NYPD kept secret files on businesses owned by second- and third-generation Americans specifically because they were Muslims.
According to the agency, police photographed businesses and eavesdropped at lunch counters and inside grocery stores and pastry shops.
A May 2006 report addressed to NY police commissioner Kelly had revealed that the police recommended increasing surveillance of Shiite mosques in the city.
The NYPD was also embroiled in a controversy over using a video screening accusing Muslims of launching a holy war on the West as a training material for its officers.
The film, “The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America”, claims that "the true agenda of much of Muslim leadership here in America" is to "infiltrate and dominate America."
The film sparked charges of a cover-up and calls for Kelly and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne to resign.New York Police have also been caught in a ticket-fixing scandal in the Bronx, manipulating crime statistics in Brooklyn.
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