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Los Angeles Protesters Demand "Drone-Free LAPD"

The protesters said they hope LA Mayor Eric Garcetti will step in to stop the use of two drones the LAPD got from Seattle's police department in May

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A boisterous group of protesters went to Los Angeles City Hall Thursday, trying to shoot down the LAPD drone program before it gets off the ground. A similar fate befell the Seattle Police Department, which offered the drones to LAPD. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

    Protesters gathered outside LA's city hall Thursday morning, chanting "drone-free LAPD" to demand a halt to what they called an LAPD plan to use drones to spy on citizens.

    Demonstrators from the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition pushed up against the City Hall entrance, trying to get a meeting with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti over two silent, camera-equipped drones the police department has recently acquired.

    "What's going to happen when they have a drone that you can't ever hear is around, that can come into close radius?" protester Jamie Garcia said. "What are they going to do with this data? They haven't told us."

    LAPD got the state-of-the-art Draganflyer X-6 drones for free from the Seattle Police Department in May. Civil rights activists on Thursday said Seattle residents' protests over drone testing in their city got their mayor involved to stop the drone use. They hope they can get Garcetti to do the same.

    City Hall Protesters Demand "Drone Free LAPD"

    [LA] City Hall Protesters Demand "Drone Free LAPD"
    Demonstrators gathered outside LA City Hall to demand a halt to what they call an LAPD plan to use drones to spy on citizens. Gordon Tokumatsu reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.

    LAPD spokesman Bruce Borihahn said a federal agency is storing the drones. He said he doesn't know the drones' capabilities.

    "We're not even in possession of these things," Borihahn said.

    Police will not use the drones in LA before a "lengthy approval process" by the civilian police commission, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and civil rights groups, Borihahn said.

    Protesters said the Draganflyer website and videos posted by other police departments using the drones around the country show the devices are small, indetectable and much less expensive than the manned helicopters currently used by the LAPD.

    LAPD Chief Discusses Drones Acquired From Seattle

    [LA] LAPD Chief Discusses Drones Acquired From Seattle
    LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the drones would only be used for tactical situations after the department drafts a policy with input from civil rights groups. Raw video from Thursday June 5, 2014.

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California applauded the department's transparency about receiving the tool, but questioned whether its use outweighs the potential for invasion of privacy, Hector Villagra, the executive director of the ACLU of Southern California, said in a statement in June.

    Beck has promised the public the drones would only be used in tactical situations such as manhunts and standoffs.

    "The Los Angeles Police Department will never, ever give up public confidence for a piece of police equipment," he said in June.