Park Police Surveil Second Amendment Rally at US Capitol

The helicopter flying at the Second Amendment rally on 2-11-2019 at the Capitol in D.C., was there to surveil the crowd with aerial photography.
The helicopter flying at the Second Amendment rally at the Capitol in D.C., was there to surveil the crowd with aerial photography.

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- At the 2019 rally for the Second Amendment on the west lawn of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C. about 2,000 freedom activists were listening to speakers orate about the necessity of restoring the Second Amendment. Most attendees noticed a helicopter orbit around the capitol a couple of times, starting around 2:30, as I recall.

Several people thought it might be President Trump having a look at the crowd. I did not think so. The helicopter was too small for Marine 1, the designation for the most commonly used helicopter by the President. The helicopter appears to be a Bell 412EP, designated Eagle 1, by the Park Police.

I snapped a few photographs on about 30X telephoto. When I viewed them later, it became clear the flights were surveillance missions to photograph the crowds. It would be silly and stupid to have the expense and risk of a helicopter flight, only to allow a crew member to observe the crowd, without recording the event.

The two-camera pods visible in the picture are likely permanently installed. The images obtainable from professional-level surveillance gear on helicopters, at the relatively low elevation of the helicopter (rough guess, 2,000 feet), along with the very good visibility, means the digital capture included good, facial recognition level images of most people at the rally. It appears the crew member in the doorway also has a camera in a chest rig, but it is less certain.

As early as 2010, the Park Police were “on the cutting edge” of using aerial surveillance video. From securityinfowatch.com: 

Though they may be the oldest uniformed police agency in the nation, the U.S. Park Police are the on the cutting edge when it comes to utilizing video surveillance technology.

The Park Police, in 2011, said they wrote the policy on the video to prevent other agencies from recording or redistributing video that was routinely shared with those agencies.

To deal with potential interagency problems related to this sharing initiative, Mulholland said they wrote into their policy that 1) the video could only be received in an official government facility, 2) the video couldn’t be recorded, 3) the video could not be redistributed, and 4) the video feed may cut.

It stretches credibility that the Park Police would not record the video and distribute it as they deemed necessary. They likely record every public event at the Capitol.

If my little Sony super-zoom camera can make out the face of the crew member in the doorway (5 megapixel), images from a helicopter/aerial photography dedicated surveillance camera may be 3,000 times better.

In 2013, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, demonstrated a drone camera that could capture 1.8 gigapixel images at a rate of 12 per second.  What was innovative in 2013 may be commonly used today.

Policies can change.

If the images were publicly available, they could be used to give us an accurate count of the crowd for the event, as well as good images of everyone who looked up at the aircraft.

There is no constitutional right to privacy in a public place. Every time you go out in public, anyone with a camera can take pictures of you without your permission. Simply going out in public is permission.

The same generally applies to public officials going about their public duties. Several different circuits have ruled that taking pictures, video, and audio recording of public officials, in public, is a part of First Amendment rights.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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warhorse_03826Will FlattWhormdWild BillAnsel Hazen Recent comment authors
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warhorse_03826
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warhorse_03826

hell if my name isn’t already on a list, someone should be fired.

I figure after the sweeney seige, if they don’t come and get me on at least day 3 the raid team assigned to me get taken out on day 2…

Whormd
Member
Whormd

Fascinating but worrisome, thank you.

Will Flatt
Member

There’s a lot of moving parts here. First, you have the cameras. These capture the images needed to do facial recognition. Then you need a database in order to do facial ID. Then you have to connect the ID to another database, because there is no way to tell from a person’s identity alone whether they own any firearms, let alone specific firearms. For that you MUST have a gun registry. This is just one of the many reasons why we must resist the creation of a registry, but having pictures of rally attendees alone doesn’t mean they’re going to… Read more »

Jim
Member
Jim

Come on Dean, they are federal cops with all arrest powers FBI agents have plus in this case civilian cops too boot (park cops can even make traffic stops, just like game wardens can in most states). So cops are cops, The assignment is go watch and video, that is what they will do. Just is what it is–but watch out for the black choppers with 30mm Hughes chain guns under the nose…urghhhhhh!

MBeach222
Member
MBeach222

Of course, it could have been a routine patrol just checkin’ out a gathering — ie, doing their job.

Will Flatt
Member

Epstein did not commit suicide.

Will
Member
Will

@WF,who gives a shit ?

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@Will, Pinning a murder on either of the Clintons could useful and amusing.

Will
Member
Will

@WB,it would for sure. Prince Andrew,..the royal family too! But deep down we both know that would never happen!

Will Flatt
Member

MB, lots of nazis also said they were “just doing their job”.

Will Flatt
Member

My point exactly.

jack mac
Member
jack mac

Good pic of the chopper. Wonder if the camera used is a facial recognition type. I would like to have one for such occasions. The wording on the side is U.S. PARK POLICE; have not heard of that one. Just how many different federal police agencies do we have now. Please correct or confirm my understanding that there is not suppose to be national police forces.

Tionico
Member
Tionico

the tool used for image capture has nothing to do with facial recognitioin capabilities. That is a separate exercise applied to the images once captured. So, to answer in a round about way, yes, those images are definitely available for facial recognition analisis. And I’ll bet my best duck that’s already been done, and the results filed away in some secret database against the day they may want to prove that “Charlie Brown” was at that event. You are further correct in the understanding that there is to be NO federal level police force, nor federal personnel involved in local… Read more »

George
Member
George

The Park Police watch every gathering on the Mall. Been doing it for years. Watching this was nothing special.

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@George, So you know because you are with the Park Police?

George
Member
George

No. Used to live in the DC area and knew a few Park Police officers. The Mall is a National Park and they have jurisdiction.

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@G, Oh … no direct knowledge.

joefoam
Member
joefoam

ATF was caught here recording licence plate numbers at a gun show. The daily shooter reports the DOJ is watching the CA border to prevent ammo smuggling from neighboring states. Big brother is watching!

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@joe, It is a sad day, when lawful commerce is called smuggling. But Californians will have to adopt the smugglers methods. Two cars leave Ca. One goes to the ammo vendor and makes himself conspicuous. Later transfers the ammo to the “Family on Vacation” car in an multi-level parking structure, and returns to CA, before the decoy car.

Considerthis
Member
Considerthis

Somehow, Vince Foster’s was dumped in the park unobserved !

Tionico
Member
Tionico

observation is one thing. The REPORT of that observation is something else altogether different.

Seth Rich also comes to mind. Same rules of engagement” apply.

Clovis Chitwood
Member
Clovis Chitwood

I was there, drove up from Tennessee, a helicopter was circling the Mall before as well as during the rally. Don’t forget there were a hundred thousand Nat’s fans on the Mall that day as well. Good pic, I never could quite make out what type of helicopter it was with the naked eye.

Rock
Member
Rock

Thus the facial recognition push… The “Real License” is a way to force the facial recognition aspect on you, all that is needed by whoever is a picture of a crowd with faces showing… The have your face in the records along with all of your info. Can you say BUSTED ?!?!?!?

jack mac
Member
jack mac

Is facial recognition equipment available for purchase by private citizens? Seems like a nice to have item.

Pistolpete
Member
Pistolpete

We need to have a million Gun Owner Rally . I found out to late to attend this rally. Need more planning and better way to let gun owner know a rally is being held. 2000 want make much of a statement but 1 million would .

jack mac
Member
jack mac

I had to look hard to find any general news coverage of the event. I found one mention in a weekly magazine mentioning over 1,000 attended. The media apparently does not thank we are worthy news. Of course the media does not thank we are worthy. Relying on news to make our statements heard is not likely to happen. At least with any resemblance of positive coverage.

What should be planned is multiple gatherings of pro freedom citizens not to rally, but to muster.

Tionico
Member
Tionico

In the eyes of the media and most gummit, we are very UNworthy. I d say that is THEIR problem. In a way, it puts us at an advantage. Remember before the events at Lexington and Concord, the view the British uffishuls took of the COlonials was one of utter disdain, incompetence.. they’d run in fear at the first rounds fired against them, have no discipline, little cpmpetence or skill at arms, and the sound of a small field cannon discharging in their direction will have them melt into a puddle of fear. Several of the Btitish officers, having been… Read more »

Tec's Dad
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Tec's Dad

I remember going to the Pro-2A rally at the Capitol in Hartford, CT, back in early 2014, there were troopers taking pictures of the crowd from inside the building…

Bruce014
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Bruce014

I was at the rally. I live in Arlington, Va (for now…) and there was nothing out of the ordinary with that chopper, especially when you consider the Nationals we’re hosting a World Series parade with hundreds of thousands of people literally two blocks over.

Darkman
Member
Darkman

SOP for a rally of any kind. Anywhere in the city. Surveillance from above is only the visible part of the eyes on surveillance going on. There are hundreds of cameras as well as roof top operations. Also most likely as many as 10% of the attendees were agents from various security agencies. One of my friends works on a high security military facility. I can tell you the level observation that is seen is a mere fraction of what is actually occurring. Take my word for it each and every person who attended that rally was well documented long… Read more »

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@Dark, Yes, that is the key … “Anywhere in the city.” Flee the cites! Do business in towns too small to have cameras. Foil the evidence gathering efforts of the police state, on your own. When the SHTF, it will happen in the cities, first. Don’t be there.
When blood starts flowing in the kill zones, be far enough away to react. After the destruction, be in a position to help put things back together.

StreetSweeper
Member
StreetSweeper

What a police state this country has become, just in my lifetime; depressing.

Ansel Hazen
Member
Ansel Hazen

I’m curious why we haven’t seen technology coming out to foil both facial recognition and something to defeat license plate readers. It’s likely that every attendee also had their vehicles scanned while on the way to the rally.

Will Flatt
Member

There IS tech to defeat license plate readers. It allows naked-eye observation of the plate as is required by law in all 50 states, but blocks optical scanners and lasers.

As for blocking facial recognition, I recommend boonie hats, a shemagh, sunglasses. If the facial recognition software cannot detect the contours of your face, it can’t make a match. However, lots of other people need to do the same so you don’t stand out to the on-the-ground agents.

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@OV, Was that the guy that instituted wage and price controls; unpegged the dollar from gold, turning the dollar into fiat paper, and in turn, causing the price of gasoline to almost double; and finally, was involved in some kind of a burglary?
My mom used to call him Richard Shithouse Nixon

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

Is Shit House hyphenated or one word?

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@AH, The technology that came out to foil facial recognition is called the hoodie. Kids wear them, hood up, even in 95 degree weather, just for that purpose.

Ansel Hazen
Member
Ansel Hazen

Listened to him resign on the radio while on a summer vacation in NH as a kid.

Will
Member
Will

I really think this is more about facial recognition than anything else. Notice the little gold star on your DL ?

MB
Member
MB

That’s been required since 2016 I believe, well if you want to be able to fly after October 1, 2020. The photograph is no different than licenses without the gold star, it’s just that the information on the license has been scrutinized for identity better than licenses without the gold star.

jack mac
Member
jack mac

Just looked at my DL and saw the star. News to me. What is the star for?

Will
Member
Will

@jackmac,that damn helicopter isn’t there for any honorable reasons. I think it’s there for nefarious reasons only. Google,..’gold star on DL facial recognition’ !

Will Flatt
Member

Check out “Real ID” provisions of federal law. After Oct. 2020 you will not be able to fly, enter government buildings, etc. without it. They may expand the ID requirement to include interstate buses and trains, if they haven’t already.

Will Flatt
Member

That’s why I adamantly refuse to get it and will not comply. Real ID is a national ID card, plain and simple. They’ve been hammering us every day for nearly two decades to get a national ID since the very hour 9/11 happened. If they establish a national ID, THAT WILL BE AN AUTOMATIC GUN OWNER REGISTRY BECAUSE ‘REAL ID’ WILL BE A COMPLETE DOSSIER ON EVERYTHING ABOUT EACH PERSON LIVING IN THE USA.