US Department of Homeland Security deployed aerial surveillance during BLM protests


US Customs and Border Protection Data show that the Department of Homeland Security deployed helicopters, airplanes, and drones over 15 cities, including New York City, Buffalo, Dayton OH, and Philadelphia, where demonstrators assembled to protest the killing of George Floyd and collected at least 270 hours of video surveillance footage. That deployment, which sparked a congressional inquiry, was only part of a nationwide operation that repurposed resources usually sent to the US border to find smugglers and illegal crossings. The DHS fed the footage into a digital network called "Big Pipe", which can be accessed by other federal agencies and local police departments for use in investigations and which may store data for up to five years. Both activists and former DHS officials have called for demilitarising the police.

Writer: Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Publication: New York Times