It was discovered Wednesday that the New York Police Department placed a number of African American recording artists under surveillance in the months before the 2004 Republican National Convention, which was held in New York.
According to the documents, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jay-Z, LL Cool J and Alicia Keys were all monitored by police in the months before the 2004 RNC. All four of the artists had attended a rally held by Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network in Aug 2004, which raised political and voter awareness among urban youth.
This information was among some 600 pages of secret files released Wednesday by the New York Civil Liberties Union, who is suing the city on behalf of demonstrators who were arrested, reports Allhiphop.com.
“These documents paint a picture of a surveillance program that was broad, clumsy, and often unlawful,” said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU Executive Director. “The NYPD failed to differentiate between unlawful behavior and behavior that is not only lawful but should in fact be cherished and protected. Today the public can finally bear witness to that failure.”
New York authorities reportedly tried to block the documents from going public, but a judge ruled in favor of the NYCLU on May 4.