New York City police spied on peace activists, hip-hoppers, bloggers and even a cartoonist:
Cops spied on hippies, hip-hoppers
NYPD eyed everyone from stars to pols before '04 GOP bash in city
BY THOMAS ZAMBITODAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, May 17th 2007, 4:00 AM
Jay-Z was among those targeted.
The NYPD kept tabs on the biggest names in hip hop as well as peaceniks, anarchists, anti-war bloggers, a city councilman and at least one hippie pie-tosser as cops girded for protests at the 2004 Republican National Convention.
The list of the spied upon was revealed yesterday in 600 pages of secret NYPD intelligence files released by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which is suing the city on behalf of hundreds of demonstrators arrested during the convention.
Sean (Diddy) Combs, Jay-Z, LL Cool J and Alicia Keys were among the notables the NYPD monitored in the months before the convention arrived in New York. Each was expected to attend a protest rally during the convention staged by the Hip Hop Summit Action Network.
Among the activists eyed by the NYPD was Aron Kay, aka the Yippie Pie Man, who earned his moniker by tossing pies into the faces of authority for more than two decades.
Mostly, the NYPD intelligence squad crisscrossed the Internet, peeking in on Web sites like one for Camp Shut Down that urged viewers to Resist the GOP and offered advice for those caught up in an NYPD dragnet.
The cops kept tabs on anti-Bush groups like Cabbies Against Bush and Bands Against Bush, as well as Billionaires for Bush, a group not really for Bush at all.
Police also were watching City Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn), a onetime mayoral candidate who was expected to demand that the GOP hold the convention elsewhere "unless the RNC indicates that it is willing to address issues of the impoverished, such as HIV/AIDS, housing and welfare."
The NYCLU says cops went too far in their surveillance of lawful political activism, while the city says the work of the intelligence unit justified the cops' high profile during the convention.
"The surveillance spanned the globe," said Donna Lieberman, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
But Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said, "I think a close examination of those documents will show the NYPD did an outstanding job of protecting the city during the convention."
The city tried unsuccessfully to block the documents' public release. Two weeks ago, Manhattan Federal Judge James Francis dismissed city claims that potential jurors in the NYCLU case will be prejudiced by their release.
The NYPD posted all of the documents, as well as a 26-page overview, on its Web site last night.