America has been in rage over the death of George Floyd for the past week as buildings have been burned, and protests continue asking for justice. Live footage was received by a drone authorized by US customs and Border protection, that flew to Minneapolis as the protests continued and buildings nearby burned.
The unmanned drone was deployed by the agency to receive help in gauging the situation at hand, increasing awareness for the federal law enforcement partners in Minneapolis. Any of the sources has not yet specified the agency that asked for the aircraft to be deployed.
Alarms were raised about the aircraft while it was hovering over Minneapolis during the day. Civil rights and government oversight groups raised the alarm, but crowd monitoring here seems to be the agenda of the government.
The kind of surveillance in question here has been known to increase concerns and will have chilling effects on protests as well. As more questions were raised on the drone requirement, it finally headed back home in North Dakota as CBP was also told that the drone was no longer needed. It came only after a short while of the arrival of the drone in Minneapolis airspace.
The drone flight seems to have come in the wake of the protests that have been taking place throughout the country and on Thursday night in Minneapolis. There have been multiple incidences of looting, fires, and property damage around the city. The goal of sending in the drone seemed to be to check in on the situation on the ground.
The American Civil Liberties Union senior legislative counsel has also condemned the use of a drone to their benefit and that CBP has no role in what is happening in the city. Similar protests against the hovering drone seem to be the reason why it headed back home so soon.
There is news that the agency had informed the Congress that they were sending in a drone in Minneapolis, although there has been no confirmation about it. CNN though, has confirmed that at least one drone was spotted around the city.
The agency that sent in the drone is supporting their reason with the fact that the drone can provide high-quality footage to first responders and also assess the situation on the ground. The before and after events of the ongoing protests can be seen clearly if a surveillance aircraft is present at the time of the event. Recovery operations can also be done quicker if the ground zero situation becomes much clearer.
The past has witnessed many incidences of agencies like the FBI themselves using the airspace during protests to gauge the situation and eventually maybe gain control over it. Despite that evidence, the drone was sent back to where it came from.