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Baltimore City Council Holds Heated Hearing On Bringing Back Surveillance Plane

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Council Chambers were divided Tuesday night.

"If you are the public safety committee, my friend, man do the right thing champ," said Archie Williams, with Community With Solutions.

"It's an absurd level of 'big brotherism' and invasion of people's privacy. This is completely nuts," said Ryan Dorsey, City Councilman.

A heated back and forth centered on the surveillance plane that took flight in 2016 over Baltimore- at first without residents' knowledge.

The founder of the Ohio company that operates the privately-funded plane came to Baltimore to make his case Tuesday night.

"When people see what we do they can actually see it and most of the time they say 'is that all? It that what we're worried about?," said Ross McNutt, founder of Persistent Surveillance Systems.

Council members grilled McNutt over cost, effectiveness curbing crime and who had access to the data.

"We put it in top secret safes and store it away," McNutt said.

Brandon Scott, councilman and chair of the committee, made a point to say it ultimately is the mayor's decision whether to start the program back up.

"We can't have it both ways. You can't say that the council should have any authority over it and then want us to have any authority over it when it's convenient for 'political cover,'" Scott said.

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