The New York City Police Department (NYPD) announced that it would be deploying drones to monitor the festivities of the coming weekend.
This weekend sees several events and holidays coincide stretching the police department thin, this weekend will see Labor Day, the West Indian Day Parade, and J'ouvert, a Trinidadian festival celebrating the emancipation from slavery, all occurring on Monday.
These three events will see numerous residences holding barbeques, parties, and family gatherings. Having in the past been a magnet for violence, the NYPD has been attempting to prevent violence from marring the celebrations this year.
The festivities typically kick off at 6 a.m. with J'ouvert's pre-dawn carnival procession in Crown Heights, two million people have come to celebrate in previous years according to the New York Times.
“If a caller states there’s a large crowd, a large party in the backyard,” Assistant Police Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said at a press conference, “we’re going to be utilizing our assets to go up, to go check on the party, to make sure if the call is founded or not.”
A violation of rights?
However, some city residents are worried that the drones will be a violation of their constitutional rights.
“It’s a troubling announcement and it flies in the face of the POST Act,” Daniel Schwarz, a privacy and technology strategist at the New York Civil Liberties Union, told AP News. The Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act requires the NYPD to disclose its surveillance strategies and tactics to the public.
“One of the biggest concerns with the rush to roll out new forms of aerial surveillance is how few protections we have against seeing these cameras aimed at our backyards or even our bedrooms,” Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), told AP News.
The push for increased drone usage and surveillance has been linked to New York Mayor Eric Adams's visit to Israel last month. Adams has sought to modernize and technologize the New York Police this includes not only the introduction of drones but also robotic dogs and GPS trackers.