Protests over St. Louis City’s proposed use of surveillance planes

ST. LOUIS – A protest over what some call spy planes being used to fly over St. Louis neighborhoods was interrupted by one man demonstrating against the protesters themselves.

Privacy Watch St. Louis, the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, and the ACLU were having a protest at St. Louis City Hall on Thursday against the possibility of the city using surveillance planes to watch over St. Louis, when a single protestor arrived with a bullhorn to protest against them.

The single protestor accused the groups of lying. We asked the protester, Cedric Redmond, about his motivations.

“…Because our city owns the data, it’s free for three years, there's 112 unsolved murders in the city of St. Louis, 23 kids,” he said. “If they don’t want more police officers, then we have to find a way to help officers use resources they have.”

John Chasnoff, a spokesman for Privacy Watch St. Louis, said having the city even considering to allow a company to use drones or spy planes over city neighborhoods is not only scary, but it will also unfairly attack people of color.

“We're concerned this mass surveillance raises a ton of civil liberty concerns, privacy concerns, and we've learned from some police officers they don’t consider it effective in fighting crime,” he said.

Fox 2 reached out to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office to find out what is being considered. A spokesperson for the mayor said they would get back to us.

Meanwhile, Redmond, a community activist, said he’s not being paid to support the planes. He thinks with the unsolved murders and few people coming forward as witnesses, it’s a great way to stop murders and that it doesn’t target African-Americans.

“There’s things that happen in Tower Grove, Dutchtown, Carondelet all the time,” he said.

Chasnoff reiterated that spy planes or drones leave open the possibility for bad things.

“For sharing and selling of information to private entities and going up the line to federal agencies and immigration, as an example,” he said.

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