People Watching Officers at Inauguration Day

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Hundreds of thousands of people will be on the streets of D.C. for Inauguration Day on Friday.

That means there will be thousands of police and other law enforcement officers watching over the specters, but there will be people watching police as well.

Every D.C. patrol officer is armed with a body worn camera, but those cameras won’t be turned on during the inauguration, unless the officer is required to take action. If they are simply monitoring the crowds, the cameras will remain off.

“Those cameras shouldn’t be on. The police shouldn’t be allowed to surveil first amendment activity. Our concern around the availability of body cameras, what is done with that data, who looks at that data, what that data is used for?” asked American Civil Liberties Union’s Monica Hopkins-Maxwell.

While the ACLU doesn’t want the police video taping the demonstrators, they are making it easier for the demonstrators to video tape the police. They’ve launched a new app called Mobile Justice, which allows citizens to report police in real time if they think an officer is violating someone’s constitutional rights.

“The more people who are watching, the less incidents collision between the police and protestors,” said Hopkins-Maxwell.

Civil liberties groups won’t be the only ones watching the police, the government will be watching as well. The head of the D.C. Office of Police Complaints said he’ll have teams in the crowds.

“We’re going to have five mobile field teams. They are going to be monitoring various routes of the parade route. They’re going to be wearing distinctive clothing and arm bands, so that people will be able to recognize them. They will be equipped with audio and video recording devices. Most of the monitors that are participating in the inauguration are investigators in my office,” said D.C. Office of Complaints’ Michael Tobin.

There will also be marshals trained by private groups, like the ACLU, who will be monitoring the police during the inauguration.

The District of Columbia is bringing in 3,000 extra police officers and 5,000 members of the National Guard to assist with security during the inauguration.
 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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