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Report: Minnesota cops use drones to spot nude beachgoers

Report: Minnesota cops use drones to spot nude beachgoers
[Photo: Matt Pritchard/Unsplash]

Minneapolis-area police controversially used drones to spot people illegally taking their clothes off at an unofficial nude beach, according to a report from local CBS affiliate WCCO.

Numerous online sources say the Twin Lake beach has a long history of nudity, but legally anyone nude and any women exposing their breasts are violating the law. A group of officers from the Golden Valley Police Department and Minneapolis Parks Police sent in the drones after receiving “a dozen complaints this spring and summer regarding people being nude, drinking alcohol or doing drugs at the beach,” according to the report.

The devices caught images of people exposing parts of their bodies they later covered up when officers arrived on the beach. The police say the drone surveillance is legal, since the beach is a public place, but it understandably made some beachgoers uncomfortable. Some also consider the current law discriminatory—it allows men to be topless but not women—and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is considering changing it, according to the report.

People at the beach also accused police of singling out Black beachgoers, approaching them first, and pushback from the crowd ultimately made the officers leave, according to the report.

“We made the choice that things were only escalating, and we chose to leave,” Golden Valley Police Department Sergeant Randy Mahlen told WCCO.

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