The LAPD announced in May that it had acquired two Draganflyer X6 aircraft from Seattle police, which had to ditch the technology after significant public criticism.
But the LAPD has not used them, officials say. The drones are locked up in a federal building until police and the public agree on their use.
And that’s where the group outside City Hall on Thursday wants the drones to stay.
“The LAPD, as an institution, has an undeniable legacy of mission creep,” said Xander Snyder, a member of Restore the Fourth, a group that aims to limit government surveillance and preserve civilian privacy.
Though police officials suggest drones would only be used to gain better intelligence in tense situations, such as standoffs with a barricaded suspect, critics argued it would not be long before drones were used to monitor public spaces, protests and citizen’s backyards.
“As a community, we’re not here to be experimented on,” said Jamie Garcia, a Boyle Heights nurse and member of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.