The People’s Law Office has signed onto the below statement opposing SB 2562.
We the undersigned organizations stand together in opposition to SB 2562. This bill would allow police to use drones equipped with facial recognition capabilities to spy on large public gatherings across the state of Illinois.
Increased surveillance of demonstrations and other public gatherings will make us all less safe because it intimidates and deters people from exercising their First Amendment right to protest, a necessary tool for holding elected officials accountable–especially in the age of Trump. If we want to build a more equitable world, the Illinois legislature must encourage political engagement, not scare our fellow Illinoisans away from its most elemental form: public gathering.
We are greatly troubled by the dramatic expansion of surveillance powers this bill would make available to Illinois law enforcement. The Chicago Police Department’s long history of violating the rights of protesters is well known and includes unlawful surveillance and targeted abuse of people working to make this a more just city for our most marginalized residents. Chicago police violence as exemplified by the police riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the murder of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton in 1969 continues today. We need only look at the recent attempts by the Chicago police to interfere with protected First Amendment activity by the #BlackLivesMatter to be convinced that the Chicago police are not to be trusted with a legal tool that will allow them to invade personal privacy and impede political activity from the skies.
We strongly encourage elected officials to oppose SB 2562 and the widespread use of surveillance technology by police.
A Just Harvest
ACLU of Champaign County
American Friends Service Committee Chicago
Black and Pink – Chicago
Black Lives Matter – Chicago
The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
Chicago Community Bond Fund
Chicago District of the International Socialist Organization
C.L.A.W. – Chicago League of Abolitionist Whites
Gay Liberation Network
Organized Communities Against Deportations
People’s Response Team
People’s Law Office
SURJ – Showing Up for Racial Justice
Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
Uptown People’s Law Center
Workers Center for Racial Justice