ACLU Holds News Conference Monday Over City’s Spy Camera Plan

The ACLU of Sacramento will hold a major news conference here Monday morning – and then hand deliver a letter to Mayor Kevin Johnson – opposing a nearly $615,000 grant by Homeland Security to provide dozens of surveillance cameras to spy on Sacramento citizens.

The briefing will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in front of City Hall.

The Sacramento City Council is expected to be presented with a proposal to accept the grant Tuesday after no real public hearing, something that is bothersome to civil libertarians.

“Video surveillance is very intrusive,” said Jim Updegraff, chair of the ACLU board of directors in Sacramento, in a letter to Johnson and the Sacramento City Council. He added that the cameras could also “enhance…racial profiling.”

“Study after study has shown surveillance cameras are ineffectual in reducing crime against persons,” wrote Updegraff, noting that “we (ACLU) are opposed to the grant going forward (Tuesday) without the participation of concerned citizens.” The agenda only allots 15 minutes for the item Tuesday.

Copies of Updegraff’s letter and a report on how surveillance cameras are undermining civil liberties, but yet are not effective in stopping serious crime will be made available.

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