Well, this didn’t turn out the way The Seattle Police Department had hoped. Speaking at the Garfield Community Center Thursday night about a new unmanned aerial vehicle program, Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh was continuously interrupted by angry protesters who called the department “murderers,” “fascists” and questioned whether it should have the authority to operate drones in emergency situations over the skies of Seattle.
You can get a look at the action in the video above, with the protest starting in minute 11.
“I’m sorry, I just want to say this is frickin’ ridiculous,” yelled the lead protestor. “Seattle police do not have the authority to surveil on people. This is the same police department that shot a 70-year-old black man in his home.”
Another one says the UAV program is “bullshit.” Chants included: “No Drones. We say no to drones” and “Shame.”
Comparisons were also made to George Orwell’s “1984,” the landmark book which described a government-controlled state. One protestor called it the militarization of the “air above us,” while plenty of boos, F-bombs and birds are yelled and flipped.
The police department said in an operations manual that the UAVs “can be utilized in circumstances which would save life and property, as well as being able to detect possible dangers that could not otherwise be seen.” (Previously on GeekWire: Drones over Seattle? Police to discuss unmanned aerial vehicle plan with residents)
The Seattle Times has more details on the protest, noting that Assistant Chief McDonagh was drowned out by the protestors for about half of the 2-hour meeting.
Here’s some additional reading on the matter: