STOP LAPD SPYING COALITION SUPPORTS AB 1327 VETO
For Different Reasons Than Governor Brown
The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and its partners in the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign support Governor Brown’s veto of AB 1327- The Drone Privacy Protection Act of 2014, for significantly different reasons than Governor Brown. In vetoing AB 1327 on September 28th, Governor Brown stated “the measure appeared to impose restrictions on law enforcement that went far beyond federal and state constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure and the right to privacy.”
On August 21st, the Coalition along with its community partners launched the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign. Later at a press conference on September 15th, the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign called upon the governor to veto AB 1327 because Drones signify a giant step forward in the militarization of local law enforcement that is normalizing continued surveillance and violations of human rights of our communities. AB 1327, while masked under the guise of police seeking warrants to use drones, essentially authorized and legitimized their use under myriad of situations and loopholes that would allow the use of Drones for collection of information and surveillance.
While the whole country is demanding an end to police militarization, California state legislators are encouraging the use of military style drone technology by local law enforcement. As residents of the State of California, we reject the use of drones by law enforcement. Instead, we demand that law enforcement should not be allowed to add drone technology to their expansive arsenal of weapons and surveillance equipment.
Many law enforcement agencies in California such as the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) have a long history of lies and violence against communities, remaining untrustworthy and unaccountable institutions in the eyes of our community. Recently, in April 2014, LAPD officers sabotaged 90 out of 300 LAPD patrol cars by tampering with antennas that feed video and voice monitoring equipment. Installing officer monitoring equipment in patrol cars was one of the conditions of the federal consent decree imposed in June 2001 after the Rampart corruption scandal. Of the 90 sabotaged patrol cars, 85 were located in the South East Bureau, where an overwhelming majority of residents are people of color. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck knew about this gross violation, but did not share this information with the Police Commission until much later.
The Los Angeles Sheriff Department (LASD) remains mired in federal investigations, resulting in convictions and lawsuits due to their use of excessive force and abuse of power. The history of unaccounted for constitutional violations led an Assistant US attorney to characterize the LASD to be “potential thugs and criminals.” Recently six members of LASD were sentenced to Federal prison for obstruction of justice. Furthermore, in April 2014, “in a secret test of mass surveillance technology, the LASD sent a civilian aircraft over Compton, California, capturing high-resolution video of everything that happened inside that 10-square-mile municipality.” This test was done without the knowledge or consent of the Compton residents.
We expect law enforcement will broaden their usage of drones within the context of “mission creep.” Mission creep alludes to the application of a specific tactic, expanding beyond the original stated scope, towards new and enlarged purposes. Increasingly, SWAT deployments are used for executing search warrants, most commonly in drug investigations, while only a small handful of deployments are used for hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios.
We demand that Governor Brown take additional steps by placing a ban on the use of drone technology by law enforcement in the state of California. We demand a transparent statewide public hearings of current surveillance programs and the militarized equipment aiding them. This is also an opportunity for Mayor Eric Garcetti to set politics aside and do the right thing by prohibiting the use of Drones by LAPD. We don’t need any more military style technology in Los Angeles. Keep the Los Angeles Police Department Drone Free.
Join us on Tuesday October 7th at 6:30 PM for the Drone-Free LAPD/No Drones, LA! Campaign meeting. We will meet at LA CAN – 838 E. 6th Street, Los Angeles 90021, x-st Gladys.