A group dubbed the “Stop LAPD Spying Coalition” is protesting the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s (LASD) plans to deploy an unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
Last week, the department announced that it had been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to use its new drone. Specifically, the LASD plans to use it in “dangerous, hostile and life-saving operations,” such as search-and-rescue work or hazardous-materials incidents. During a press conference, the department reiterated that the UAS would not be used to “spy on the public” or be deployed for “random surveillance.”
However, the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition is expressing “deep concern and rejection” of the technology, which adds to the “massive arsenal of tactical weapons and surveillance equipment” of the “highly militarized police agency,” the group says in an announcement.
“We expect LASD to broaden its usage of drone within the context of ‘mission creep,” the group continues, adding that “mission creep” refers to the “application of a specific tactic expanding beyond the original stated scope towards new and enlarged purposes.”
According to coverage from the Los Angeles Times, the group even went to downtown Los Angeles yesterday to publicly protest.
This isn’t the first time the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition has spoken out against the use of drones by law enforcement; in fact, the group has written letters to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to protest the Los Angeles Police Department’s use of unmanned aircraft.