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Remember that f#!cking plane flying over Capitol Hill during last summer’s protest? Here’s what it was up to

In early June in the first days of Seattle’s summer of Black Lives Matter protests and the formation of CHOP, a strange, noisy, seemingly endlessly circling airplane added to the peculiar tension building on Capitol Hill.

Thanks to Seattle criminal defense attorney Nacim Bouchtia, we can now get a look at what that Cessna 206 was up to in the air above the neighborhood.

Bouchtia filed a public records request with the Washington State Patrol for video surveillance recorded by the plane this summer including its long, droning loops above Capitol Hill. Those videos have now been uploaded to Youtube here.

CHS reported on the plane and WSP’s assistance to law enforcement on the ground during early June protest activity around the East Precinct:

The plane’s mission, the spokesperson said, was “flying in support of the operations on the ground.” With state troopers working with Seattle Police and the National Guard as part of the crowd control forces in place around the East Precinct, the plane’s FLIR thermal imaging camera was providing commanders at the protest with views of the streets and activities happening around the neighborhood. When there were reports of people possibly throwing objects from a nearby roof overnight, the plane was able to help police find the trespassers. Plane N305DK had a long night. Leaving a few times only to refuel, the craft finally called it a night sometime around 2 AM.

Here is one clip captured by N305DK that night during tense minutes at 12th and Pine:

N305DK is the only plane capable of this type of video surveillance in the WSP fleet and is deployed across the state as needed. “It depends on where there are issues. And where it is needed most,” a WSP spokesperson told us last summer.

Another plane identified that night is believed to have been an FBI surveillance craft.

As for the videos, scenes range from protests in Olympia, Bellevue, and on Capitol Hill and Seattle’s stretch of I-5, to high speed freeway chases unrelated to the protests.

You can view all of the videos from Bouchtia here.

There aren’t many moments of high drama. Instead, protest activities play out in a distant, white noise quiet kind of way — until the camera zooms, that is. On those zooms, the power of the technology is on full display. The main lesson? With planes and cameras like this, you can see why the authorities like to have aircraft like N305DK working above — even if it means an irritating night of airplane noise for those living below.


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Hmmm
Hmmm
2 months ago

Listening to the police banter on the first video, I am reminded of the classic Almost Live sketch – “Is it on Pike – or Pine?”

Jennifer N Brown
Jennifer N Brown
2 months ago
Reply to  Hmmm

Me too! 😂

Phil Mocek
2 months ago

For more on Washington State Patrol’s organization and technical capabilities, see Drew Hendricks’ “The Apparatus of Repression” https://www.scribd.com/doc/245314943/The-Apparatus-of-Repression

James T.
James T.
2 months ago
Reply to  Phil Mocek

Fascists…

Tom R
Tom R
2 months ago

Pickup truck running over protesters in Olympia

haveaniceday
haveaniceday
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom R

that’s really messed up that they completely let that driver go.

Craig
Craig
2 months ago
Reply to  haveaniceday

Maybe because the “protesters” don’t have the right to stop drivers. They don’t get to harass drivers just because they feel like it. And they certainly don’t have the right to merely wonder around in the streets.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
2 months ago
Reply to  Craig

Curious how you got to this point in your life where you thinking running over people is OK. Definitely not critical reasoning skills.

GregoryH
GregoryH
2 months ago
Reply to  Craig

Drivers exercise due care – Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary (RCW 46.61.245).

Tom R
Tom R
2 months ago

“Hooligans” on the roof.

Marcus
Marcus
2 months ago

The airspace this plane flew in over Cap Hill for the summer riots is quite restrictive with SeaTac traffic overhead. Kudos to the pilots for the tedious task of doing circles in such a tight area.

Also, what a nothing burger of an article.

Whichever
Whichever
2 months ago

Good.

Park
Park
2 months ago

People who cause trouble need help. Case by case help.

Nope
Nope
2 months ago

Drone would be a lot cheaper ?

James T.
James T.
2 months ago

Defund all of this NOW! This is pointless and an instrument of fascism!

Snidely Whiplash
Snidely Whiplash
2 months ago
Reply to  James T.

Surprise! There’s no such thing as anonymous rioting anymore.