The Plaintiffs in this suit reached a strong settlement with the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) following the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling finding the BPD’s pilot aerial surveillance program unconstitutional. The settlement terms block the city from implementing a similar surveillance program in the future, and prohibit the BPD from accessing data collected through the program, except in connection with existing prosecutions or to provide discovery to criminal defendants. The settlement also ensures that the BPD will destroy its collected records from the program, consistent with the rights of criminal defendants to obtain discovery about the surveillance.
On behalf of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, grassroots think tank that advances the public policy interests of Black people in Baltimore, Erricka Bridgeford, co-founder of the Baltimore Ceasefire 365 project, and Kevin James, a community organizer and hip-hop musician, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of Maryland filed a lawsuit against the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) to challenge the constitutionality of deploying a wide-area aerial surveillance program that will put virtually all Baltimore residents under constant, aerial surveillance.
In the lawsuit, the ACLU argues this surveillance system presents a threat to our individual right to privacy and free association under the First and Fourth Amendments, respectively.