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Video: LAPD Tells Drone Operator Not To Fly Over Ezell Ford Protest
Hundreds of protesters marched yesterday from the LAPD headquarters downtown to Union Station and back again to express their anger over the shooting of Ezell Ford, as well as several other office-involved shootings in recent news.
Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old unarmed, mentally-challenged African-American man, was shot and killed by police last week in South L.A. The circumstances surrounding Ford's death vary depending on who's talking. The LAPD say the fatal shooting occurred only after a struggle in which Ford tried to grab an officer's gun, while Ford's family say there was no struggle.
Yesterday afternoon, protesters moved through the streets, calling for justice and accusing the police of racism. Several times, protesters got down on their knees in the streets, yelling, "Hands up! Don't shoot!" similar to protesters in Ferguson, Missouri demonstrating against the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was also fatally shot by a police officer.
At one point, activist 'Tom Zebra,' who advocates filming the police, flew his drone over the protest. When the group reached Union Station, Zebra was ordered to take the drone down by the LAPD. In the following video, an officer explains that during Dodgers Games, the FAA has a restriction on airspace—and that drones are considered aircraft.
This isn't the first time Tom's drone footage has irked LAPD. He flew over the Hollywood police station last month, prompting the LAPD to ask for more guidance about where hobbyists are and aren't allowed to fly. LAPD owns its own drones, but it is still waiting for public hearings and an internal review to use them.
At Sunday's protest, some demonstrators had signs for other alleged victims of police brutality, including Omar Abrego, who was beaten to death by police on August 2 in South L.A.; Eric Garner, who suffered a heart attack after being put in a chokehold by New York police in July; and Dante Parker, who died after being tased by police several times last week. Garner's death has been officially ruled a homicide.
Yesterday's L.A. protest was peaceful. Meanwhile, in Ferguson, tension continues to grow. The National Guard has been deployed to the area, and Amnesty International sent a 13-person team to the town. Last night, several journalists reported being threatened by police.