Anastase Markou on Kalamazoo City’s surveillance system: ‘It’s a badly thought-out process, violates Fourth Amendment rights’

In an interview with FOX 17, Levine & Levine Criminal Defense Attorney Anastase Markou said the City of Kalamazoo’s surveillance proposal violates the Fourth Amendment.

“My initial thoughts were that the police, if they have access to 24-7 monitoring through both public and private surveillance systems that it could very well constitute a violation of people’s constitutional rights,” he told Fox 17. “And that’s my immediate thought is that it was a potential violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

During the Kalamazoo City Commission meeting on Monday, June 5, a number of people spoke about their opposition to the system, which is being called a ‘real-time crime center, and questioned the organization behind the proposed surveillance system, the Peregrine Company. The Kalamazoo police chief said that it will help solve crimes quicker. However, Markou said he understands people’s questions and concerns, arguing it violates people’s constitutional rights.

“If people know they’re constantly being monitored there’s always a possibility that they might not commit a crime. But, that’s not the point,” he said during his interview with FOX 17. “The point is they should never be constantly monitored because people have a right to make choices and sometimes those choices end up being criminal. But people have a right to make choices about constantly being under the supervision, control, and monitoring of government.”

The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.

Markou explained most cameras on and around the Kalamazoo Mall are operating 24/7. However, if the system is adopted, it'll lead to additional questions like accessibility, who at KDPS will monitor the feeds, and will it be recorded for others to review later. He believes the path forward is for citizens to oppose it and let city commissioners know that it’s not wanted in the city of Kalamazoo.

“It’s a badly thought-out process,” Markou said. “There are so many issues with it that are going to come about and it potentially puts the police in the position of being sued under a variety of different circumstances.”

During Monday’s meeting, the police chief said they’d be working with Fusus Inc. under a three-year contract to implement and utilize the system, noting it would be a public and private partnership with the community. City commissioners voted to postpone consideration of the contract with Fusus Inc. until June 20.

Watch Markou’s full interview, here.

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