NYPD Admits to Rap Intelligence Unit
By Dasun Allah
The Village Voice
Recent reports of a rap intelligence unit in the Miami police force developed with the assistance of the New York Police Department has refueled old questions about whether there is a "Hiphop Task Force" inside the NYPD.
While earlier this week the department acknowledged consulting with Miami authorities, over the years the police brass have consistently denied that there is a team keeping tabs on rap stars and their entourages. A two-month investigation into the existence of such an intelligence squad produced revelations from a retired detective who says he was its founder and architect, and an admission from the NYPD that indeed there are officers assigned to do surveillance on people in and around the hiphop music scene.
"We have an intelligence division and we have detectives that monitor the music industry and any incidents regarding the music industry,"says Officer Doris Garcia, an NYPD spokesperson. "And in regards to Miami P.D. we did exchange information, and that’s it."
Hiphop music and fashion titan Russell Simmons thinks that the NYPD needs to contend with more serious concerns than surveillance of rap stars, and questions their utilization of resources. "They don’t follow around every rock and roll outlaw. They should be following around all these drug dealers that are real obvious," he says. "You know who the drug dealers are. You know all of their names. Why are you wasting your police force energy on singers?"
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