Civics: Baltimore police respond to report they secretly spied on city with aerial surveillance tech from Iraq War

Xeni Jardin:

A report out this week from Bloomberg says that since January, 2016, people in the city of Baltimore, Maryland have secretly and periodically been spied on by police using cameras in the sky. Authorities today effectively admitted that the report is accurate.

In response to Tuesday’s Bloomberg article, Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith today said not to worry unless you’re a “criminal,” and that the flights by a specially equipped spy plane were “effectively, a mobile citywide camera.”

In a feature released on Tuesday, Bloomberg Businesweek reported that police in the mostly black city used a Cessna airplane carrying an ultra-wide-angle camera array developed for use during the Iraq War. The police surveillance flights spent hours flying overhead, sending footage back to massive hard drives.

Monte Reel’s report for Bloomberg begins outside the Baltimore courthouse where ‘not guilty, all counts’ messages were popping up on reporters’ phones, in the Freddie Gray death by police case.