PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Merner is defending the use of a drone during a Black Lives Matters demonstration, saying the drone was monitoring a man who was legally carrying an assault rifle.
Portsmouth resident Jay Lieberman noticed the drone at the June 4 march and asked the chief at a Police Commission meeting this week if he could assure residents that drones are not going to be used to monitor peaceful protests, the Portsmouth Herald reported.
The chief responded that police were watching for counter-protesters at the march attended by 1,200 to 1,300 people. One of the demonstrators was open-carrying an AR-15, which is legal in New Hampshire.
“We were able to ID that person who was exercising his constitutional guarantees, and we had no controversy or incidents at that protest,” Merner said.
Commissioner Stefany Shaheen said it will be important to continue to review drone-usage policies as the program progresses.
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