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from the because-of-course-it-does dept

Thanks to a trove of public information, the ACLU can present some perception on how the California Highway Patrol engaged in surveillance of anti-police brutality protests. While one would count on police helicopters to fly over protests to maintain a watch out for any criminal activity, it seems the officers manning the surveillance cameras had been extra focused on making an attempt to determine protesters who weren’t breaking any legal guidelines.

Some lowlights of the aerial footage will be seen on this video produced by the ACLU:

Here’s how the ACLU describes what it noticed within the recordings liberated from from the CHP:

In Sacramento, CHP carefully zooms in on a protester as they sit alone on a fountain subsequent to a Black Lives Matter poster. An hour later, when folks peacefully assemble in entrance of the fountain to listen to an organizer communicate, CHP continues to hover and document, zooming in carefully on folks’s faces and indicators.

In Placerville, CHP captures detailed footage of a number of dozen protesters peacefully assembled in entrance of the El Dorado County courthouse. The video captures an organizer thanking and hugging contributors as they maintain up indicators. CHP additionally recorded a Riverside County courthouse protest described as a “vigil… so quiet that the loudest sound was helicopters overhead.” In the CHP recordings, police cameras zoom in on faces and linger over folks talking at vigils, handing out water, making indicators, taking part in die-ins, and even dancing.

This is the Press-Enterprise’s recounting of the peaceable protest in Riverside not-so-quietly noticed by CHP helicopters:

The demonstration ended peacefully within the mid-afternoon, after protesters took a symbolic nine-minute knee in entrance of the Riverside Historic Courthouse. The vigil was so quiet that the loudest sound was helicopters overhead.

Then they returned to the park and dispersed, with some demonstrators cleansing up the streets as they went.

There had been no arrests. “Very peaceful. No issues reported,” Riverside Police spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback stated.

But regardless of there being no indicators of prison exercise, the helicopters continued to circle the protest whereas digicam operators zoomed in on faces for causes that went undocumented within the reviews obtained by the ACLU. That lack of knowledge implies the obvious makes an attempt to {photograph} or determine protesters fell exterior the said goal of the surveillance and was intentionally overlooked of CHP reviews.

That’s not the one troubling side of the CHP surveillance footage. It additionally seems the CHP took explicit curiosity in anti-police protests, permitting different giant protests to go unobserved by its eyes within the sky.

We requested CHP whether or not it had any surveillance footage of different protests final 12 months, together with these associated to the COVID-19 pandemic and related shelter-in-place orders. But in hour after hour of footage supplied by CHP, what we noticed had been protests in opposition to police violence, not protests of pandemic coverage.

There are a number of causes a legislation enforcement company may discover anti-police brutality protests extra “worthy” of prolonged surveillance than different protests over different points. Very few of these causes are excusable. At finest, it will be secure to imagine that anti-police protests are extra risky as a result of they traditionally have been. But when no prison exercise is noticed, the CHP ought to preserve its distance. When it is clear it is a peaceable protest, the CHP has no enterprise focusing on particular person protesters.

The remainder of the explanations suck. The CHP focused the protests as a result of the protests focused legislation enforcement. A majority of protesters in these protests (as in comparison with COVID-related protests) had been individuals of colour. The eyes within the sky weren’t a lot about protecting the peace as reminding protesters legislation enforcement is omnipresent and its eyes will be just about wherever always. Circling over peaceable protests with police helicopters is a type of intimidation. Destroying a nine-minute silent tribute to a black man killed by a white cop with whirling rotors and engine noise is a function, not a bug, of this type of surveillance.

This implicit ugliness will, in fact, be denied by legislation enforcement officers. Just like they’ve denied all types of proof of biased policing just about for the reason that inception of their respective legislation enforcement businesses. But everybody can see it is nonetheless there. The footage obtained right here says what police officers are unwilling to confront: that cops go after minorities at any time when doable and nonetheless really feel very comfy singling them out for no matter type of surveillance they occur to have available.

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Filed Under: blm, california, chp, helicopter, protests, surveillance

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