Why is Customs and Border Protection flying a Predator drone over Minneapolis?

Buzzfeed News reporters obtained the explanation offered by United States Department of Homeland Security's CBP to congressional staffers who asked why it decided to fly a Predator Drone over Minneapolis during the protests over the killing of George Floyd.

The drone flown over Minneapolis today is reported to be an unarmed version of the unmanned Predator aircraft.


Minneapolis could also be subject to surveillance at the federal level as the protests unfold. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) flew a Predator drone over the city on Friday, according to Jason Paladino, an investigative reporter at the Project on Government Oversight.

In a statement given to congressional staffers on Friday that was obtained by BuzzFeed News, CBP officials said the agency's Air and Marine Operations was "preparing to provide live video to aid in situational awareness at the request of our federal law enforcement partners in Minneapolis." The agency said drones are often deployed around the country to "augment law enforcement and humanitarian relief efforts."

"After arriving into the Minneapolis airspace, the requesting agency determined that the aircraft was no longer needed for operational awareness and departed back to Grand Forks," the statement read.

Scary times. Read more:

Here Are The Minneapolis Police's Tools To Identify Protesters

[ Caroline Haskins, Ryan Mac, Hamed Aleaziz, May 29, 2020, at 6:02 p.m. ET, IMAGE: US Air Force, public domain ]

More from observers and reporters on Twitter, below.