It appears as though the Manchester Police Department is constantly looking for new ways to spy on, control, and abuse peaceful citizens. As we reported in April, the department plans to install surveillance cameras facing two directions on one of the city’s busiest intersections. These cameras would serve the primary purpose of spying on peaceful (innocent until proven guilty?) people who might be doing their shopping in the downtown area. The rationale doesn’t even involve violent crime – which might actually have some merit, because Manchester is the most dangerous city in New Hampshire. No, the department is justifying this gross violation of the courts, the state and federal constitutions, the law, privacy, natural rights and due process – all because of ‘homeless people’.
The cameras would seemingly record north and south on Elm Street by city hall, and the stream would be viewed by police live at the station and recorded to a hard drive.
A few months ago, 81% of voters successfully passed an amendment to the State Constitution, which simply added this sentence to the State’s Supreme Legal Document:
“An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.”
In addition to violating the New Hampshire Constitution and the US Constitution, this China-style surveillance program seemingly violates precedent set by Katz v United States and other court cases.
On August 13, NHPR reported that a judge warned the Manchester Police that they will violate the law if they continue with their plan to surveil innocent people.
Additionally, the new spying policy seems to violate a myriad of other laws, including Dillon’s Rule, the city/town meeting rule, and others.
We will continue to report on Manchester’s new surveillance program as it develops.
Please put as much pressure as possible on the Manchester Police Department, Mayor Craig, and the Council as you can. They must be held accountable. Remember, just as politicians ought to be held accountable for abusing innocent people, so too should the cops who enforce unjust laws willingly.