From ACLU of Northern California <[email protected]>
Subject California police recorded from the sky as we protested for racial justice
Date November 17, 2021 6:02 PM
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New ACLU Investigation Exposes Police Aerial Surveillance of Racial Justice Protesters.

Friend –

Many of us heard the helicopters flying overhead as we peacefully protested following the murder of George Floyd. We know now that while thousands of us took to the streets to demand an end to police brutality, California police recorded us with high-powered, aerial surveillance. Demand that California Police stop spying on activists. <[link removed]>

Take Action <[link removed]>

After a year-long investigation, we're releasing findings that expose what California police were up to in the summer of 2020. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) deployed aircraft over dozens of communities up and down the state, including Berkeley, Emeryville, Los Angeles, Merced, Oakland, Palo Alto, Placerville, Riverside, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Vacaville, and Vallejo. From the skies, CHP surveilled and recorded high-definition video of people as they moved, marched, and mourned. CHP watched as we exercised our First Amendment rights: zooming in on people speaking at vigils, handing out water, making signs, and participating in die-ins.

Watch the Video Footage and Demand California Police Stop Spying on Activists. <[link removed]>

Our state's resources should not be used to undermine movements for social justice. Yet it seems that this aerial surveillance program was part of the tens of millions of dollars CHP reportedly spent to police protests against police violence in late May and early June 2020.

Police surveillance is not about safety – especially for communities of color. While the technology advances, the tactics stay the same: police and corporations work together to prop up unjust systems and try to undermine movements for justice. Last summer, they pulled out the same playbook, aiming their surveillance arsenal at racial justice protesters. It's long past time we reckon with this destructive legacy and make sure that it can't continue.

Right now, grassroot activists are fighting back – and winning. In the past few years alone, we have passed local anti-surveillance laws and face surveillance bans in many California communities. But this is a systemic problem and it's time for real action from our elected officials to investigate and stop out-of-control police surveillance in California and strengthen laws that protect our right to march, organize, and speak out for justice.

Make sure your voice is heard. Sign the petition today to say No to discriminatory surveillance. <[link removed]>

Thank you for fighting for social justice in the digital age,

Nicole Ozer
Technology and Civil Liberties Director, ACLU of Northern California

Jennifer Jones
Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California

Matt Cagle
Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California

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