The NYPD has disbanded the controversial unit that spied on Muslims and reassigned its officers, officials said yesterday. The Demographics Unit, later renamed the Zone Assessment Unit, was a secret program that sent undercover officers into Muslim communities to build detailed records on them. No lead was ever generated from the extensive surveillance. The NYPD's chief spokesperson, Stephen Davis, said that information “probably could have been just as readily obtained through other community outreach programs.” Mayor Bill de Blasio had promised to discontinue the practice while he was running for office, and officials say the unit has been largely dormant since he was elected and appointed police commissioner Bill Bratton. Muslim groups welcomed the change but still worry that spying and information gathering will continue.
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