The Los Angeles Police Department received approval Tuesday to begin recording and storing aerial footage of protests and other large gatherings from its helicopters — a new capability that the department said would expand its “operational readiness” and protesters and civil liberties advocates denounced as unconstitutional government surveillance.
“This is the height of state repression and surveillance,” said Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and leader of some of the largest protests in recent L.A. history. “It’s criminalizing our right to protest.”
The approval came via a unanimous Police Commission vote to accept a donation of $2,150 worth of recording equipment from the Los Angeles Police Foundation, a private philanthropic entity that has long bankrolled equipment desired by the LAPD but not budgeted for or prioritized by the city.
The vote followed a brief discussion about the practicalities of the equipment, its intended uses and the privacy issues it could raise.
Read the full story at LATimes.com.