Coming Soon! Direct from Afghanistan To A Neighborhood Near You, Armed Police Drones

 In Domestic, opinion

North Dakota becomes first state to legalize police use of armed police drones anywhere in the state. Nope, this is not a bad SyFy movie, it’s real. In North Dakota, you could be tased by a drone, or worse.

The Shadowhawk – a drone gaining in popularity by police departments. Can carry tasers, tear gas, etc – photo via fourwinds.com

Government Turned Upside Down- allowing armed police drones

If you ever wonder why people have so little trust in government, here’s why. North Dakota Representative Rick Becker introduced HB 1328 calling for the complete ban on any drones carrying weapons. In addition, Becker’s bill required police to obtain judge issued search warrants before using drones to obtain evidence in a criminal investigation.

Last March during a hearing on HB 1328, Becker said,

“When you’re not on the ground, and you’re making decisions, you’re sort of separate. Depersonalized.”

“This is one I’m not in full agreement with. I wish it was any weapon.  In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period.”

Representative Becker fearing police overreach, had the best of intentions. The North Dakota legislation thought so too, signing Becker’s bill into law in April. But the State House committee allowed a fox into the hen house, North Dakota Peace Officer Association lobbyist Bruce Burkett.

Why any lobbyist is ever allowed to offer or pen amendments to any legislation is beyond me, but Burkett’s actions changed the bills original intent 180 degrees. Rather than disallowing any weapons on drones, the bill’s language was changed to allow ‘less than lethal’ weapons.

Less Than Lethal?

Less than lethal can include tasers, tear gas, rubber bullets, bean bags, pepper spray and even sound cannons.

Tasers are considered ‘less than lethal’, but according a report of police involved killings in 2015, so far 39 people in America have died this year after being tased.

Rubber bullets, also known as baton rounds, first gained popularity in the 70s. Between 1970 and 1975, the Brits used baton rounds against the Irish Republican Army. There were 13 deaths recorded, and hundreds of injuries.

Between 1987 and 1993 the Israeli military utilizing ‘rubber bullet technology’ against Palestinean opposition reporting at least 20 people killed by the ‘less than lethal’ rounds.

Police Spying

As a watchdog on police use of drones, the bill requires police to maintain accurate records of drone missions.  But are they? Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department reports just 21 drone missions between 2012 and 2014. But FAA records indicate a small discrepancy with police record keeping as the feds documented 401 such missions. Of the 380 unrecorded missions, Grand Forks Sheriff Bob Rost can’t explain the discrepancy, but assures the public they aren’t in the business of spying on people.  Uh-huh…..of course you’re not.

Sheriff Rost doesn’t elicit a lot of confidence. Referencing the original bill before the less than lethal amendment Rost told reporters,

“It was a bad bill to start with. We just thought the whole thing was ridiculous.”

Rost also takes exception to the need for a search warrant before deploying his drone, stating legislators do not understand how search warrants work. Hmmmm……..Maybe Sheriff Rost is the one who doesn’t understand how the Constitution and the 4th Amendment work.

UAV War Fighting

The president is on record touting the use of unmanned drones to ‘eliminate’ Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders. Obama likes and approves of ‘surgical drone strikes’. Even when the president approved a drone strike killing U.S. citizens in Yemen, including a 16 year old boy, there was no public outcry of government overreach.

Police are becoming more and more militarized each day. Can it really be that long before armed drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are flying over U.S. cities?

So before you worry about your neighbor flying a drone to get exciting aerial videos or looking over your fence, consider what your local police may be doing.

Now THAT’S scary.

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