The New York Police Department monitored and spied on various rappers months before the 2004 Republican National Convention, which was held in New York.
The details were revealed in 600 pages worth of secret files released yesterday (May 16) by the New York Civil Liberties Union, who is suing the city on behalf of demonstrators arrested during the questioning.
According to the documents, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jay-Z, LL Cool and Alicia Keys were all put under surveillance in the months before the 2004 Republican National Convention arrived in New York.
Each one of the artists attended a rally held by Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit Action Network in Aug. Of 2004, to support voter registration and to address various political issues.
"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."
The documents reveal that undercover NYPD officers infiltrated political meetings and monitored listservs for years before the Republican National Convention.
The NYPD is accused of recording information about activity that was completely peaceful and lawful.
New York officials attempted to block the documents from going public, but a judge ruled in favor of the NYCLU on May 4, ruling that the documents should not be kept under wraps.
Reps for the rappers were not available for comment at press time.