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SAR WARS: Attack of the Drones

Follow the Coalition:

Community Against Police Brutality: Join us on Sunday, June 22nd from 12pm to 3pm at Forum hosted by Community Education For Social Action 202 N. Saratoga Ave., Los Angeles 90033

Panel Discussion: Join us on Saturday, June 28th at 7:45 pm at a panel discussion hosted by Restore the 4th – “The Year in Mass Surveillance” – Glendale Public Library, 222 East Harvard St, Glendale, CA

Outreach Team Meeting: Join us! Tuesday, July 1st at LA CAN: 838 E. 6th Street, LA 90021, x-street Gladys

General Coalition Meeting: Join us! Tuesday, July 15th at 6:30pm for our next general Coalition Meeting.  Location TBD

Chief Beck Welcomes the Drones

Nearly a year ago,the Seattle Police Department acquired two 3.5lbs Draganflyer X6 drones through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. The community of Seattle actively resisted the city’s attempt to use drones in a highly fueled public hearing at the Seattle City Council with community residents chanting “No Drones!” and “Murderers!” The public uproar over privacy rights and police spying compelled the mayor to scrap the program permanently before the drones got off the ground. However, the Canadian manufacturer who built the drones refused to take them back. This prompted Seattle to “gift” them to our Los Angeles Police Department.

It comes as no surprise that LAPD was given these drones. In fact, this is not the first time LAPD has talked about drones.  Earlier in February LAPD was in Israel during their “Big Data” conference looking at drones called “Hovermast”.“Hovermast” drones can be used for spying and even crowd control.

The acquisition of these drones in the larger context of the LAPD Architecture of surveillance, spying and infiltration demonstrates the continued militarization of the LAPD.  Imbedded within this infrastructure is an enormous array of electronic and human surveillance programs and devices such as – Trapwire, Stingray, Hi Definition Cameras, Automatic License Plate Readers, Suspicious Activity Reporting, Special Order 1, iWATCH, Predictive Policing, and the Safer Cities Initiative.

Along with violating our basic human rights, the potential for destruction of lives and property remains high. As stated by the Washington Post: “When Drones Fall From The Sky – more than 400 large US military drones have crashed in major accidents around the world since 2001,” highlighting “a record of calamity that exposes the potential dangers of throwing open [our] skies to drone traffic.”  

Though Chief Beck is publicly stating he is seeking community input, he never sought community input while LAPD was at the Big Data Convention in Israel admiring the use of Hovermast. Chief Beck went public claiming to arrange a meeting with the American Civil Liberties Union to quell public shock in regards to privacy violation. In an article released by L.A. Times ACLU is quoted stating they never agreed to such a formal meeting with LAPD.

The people of Los Angeles say NO to drones too – We can’t let LA be the dumping ground for other cities. We are the community and we are not going to wait for a public hearing or for Chief Beck to speak to advocacy groups. We say:No Drones Here or Anywhere! Join us on July 8th, 6PM for Chief Beck’s Re-Appointment Town Hall meeting at Lincoln Heights Senior Center Recreation Center- 2323 Workman Street Lincoln Heights-90031. Say NO to DRONES!!

In the Media:

“Game of Drones: How LAPD Quietly Acquired the Spy Birds Shunned by Seattle.” Check out this week’s article in LA Weekly…. Read More

“Pepper-spraying, crowd-controlling drones called ‘deeply disturbing’ by union”… Read More

Automatic License-plate Readers: Plans to expand scope of license-plate readers alarm privacy advocates…Read More

Will We Sleep Or Will We Fight!??!