AAPD Chief Criticized

Some Ann Arbor activists have set their sights on AAPD Chief Oates:


Before coming to Ann Arbor in August 2001, Daniel Oates, an attorney,
was the commander of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD)
Intelligence Division. In that position, Deputy Chief Oates, while not
a named defendant, was an important figure in three First Amendment
lawsuits litigated by the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of
Housing Works–an HIV-AIDS service provider and advocacy group that was
critical of New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s AIDS policies. Three
separate opinions of federal District Judge Harold Baer, Jr. reveal
that Oates and other officials repeatedly violated the First Amendment
rights of Housing Works and its supporters under the rubric of security
concerns. […]

Less than a month before 9/11, Oates took over as
Chief of the Ann Arbor Police Department. In October 2001, Ann Arbor
News interview, Oates mentioned an FBI “watch list which has hundreds
of Arabic names.”[8] The watch list was part of a federal dragnet that
swept up more than 1,200 US citizens and non-citizens–mostly south
Asians and Arabs. The only person caught in the sweep who was ever
charged with involvement in the 9/11 attacks—Zacarias Moussaoui—was
known to the FBI before the attacks. Thus, while the FBI’s broad-brush
approach had questionable anti-terrorist value, it spread fear and
distrust in immigrant communities and, arguably, gave tacit
encouragement for scores of post-9/11 hate crimes. Yet, the Oates
interview reveals no concern about ethnic profiling or lack of probable
cause. Instead, Oates complained, “We need descriptions, ages, dates of
birth, drivers’ license numbers, pictures . . . to capture these
people.”[9]

Repeatedly, and often in cooperation with local
police, the FBI has egregiously and systematically violated the
constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. According to former
Deputy Chief Harold E. Olson, in the 1960s and 1970s, the AAPD, in
cooperation with the FBI, “checked on possible subversives as a regular
duty.? The AAPD also shared “political spying intelligence? with the
infamous Chicago Police “Red Squad.”[10]

The AAPD is a participant in the Detroit Joint Terrorism Task Force,
one of 66 of such groups around the country convened by the FBI to
coordinate intelligence for anti-terror efforts. The Colorado ACLU
discovered the Denver Task Force had been
“gathering information and building files on the activities of peaceful
protesters who have no connection to terrorism or any other criminal
activity. I have not seen much information about the Detroit group, but
in December 2004 the ACLU of Michigan filed a FOIA request for information on the FBI’s activities in the state:

There
is reason to believe that surveillance of law-abiding groups is
occurring in Michigan. First, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced
in 2002 that law enforcement would be permitted to spy on political and
religious groups even though there was no suspicion that they were
violating the law. Second, there are documented examples of JTTFs in
other parts of the country investigating environmental activists,
anti-war protesters, and others who are clearly not terrorists nor
involved in terrorist activities …

The Michigan FOIA was part of an ongoing national effort to see how much domestic surveillance the FBI has engaged in since 9/11.

>> See my post 2003 from the same group on the JTTF and AAPD’s role in the arrest of Rabih Haddad

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Author: Rob Goodspeed