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June 29, 2021

Chairs Thompson and Barragán Seek Answers from CBP on Deployment of Helicopter at Peaceful Minnesota Protest

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation, & Operations, sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seeking answers and a briefing regarding an incident in Park Rapids, Minnesota on June 7, where a CBP helicopter apparently flew dangerously low over nonviolent protestors opposing the Line 3 crude oil pipeline. 

“According to reports, CBP’s helicopter flew at an altitude of approximately 20 feet, kicking up dust and debris near demonstrators.  Video footage of the incident reveals the physical risk the helicopter and resulting debris posed to the demonstrators who were on the ground and in close proximity to the aircraft,” wrote Chairs Thompson and Barragán. 

“Given the windspeeds generated by a helicopter at such low altitudes, combined with the immediate presence of people in the vicinity – including some protestors who were chained to equipment at a pump station and thus unable to move – CBP should have understood the potential hazards to persons on the ground.”

Link to Letter

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