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Bad timing: Helicopter exercises rile Twin Cities same day Obama questions police militarization

A helicopter hovers over the Minneapolis Federal Reserve building last night.
A helicopter hovers over the Minneapolis Federal Reserve building last night.

:::: UPDATE :::: MPD apologizes for helicopters; night two of military training features loud, unlit choppers

Last night, people in Minneapolis and St. Paul were surprised and scared to see and hear helicopters flying at low altitudes above them.

Folks took to the interwebs to wonder, what the hell is going on? The intrigue was especially thick because local authorities had given no advance warning about whatever was taking place.

See also:
Downtown Minneapolis invaded by Black Hawk helicopters [PHOTOS]

First off, here are some clips of the scene above downtown Minneapolis:


And here's the blow-by-blow of how Pioneer Press night reporter Tad Vezner figured out what in God's name was going on:

The timing of the Homeland Security-local law enforcement drills couldn't have been much worse in light of the questions Michael Brown's shooting in Ferguson, Missouri , has raised about the militarization of American police forces .

(For more, including City Pages video of the choppers, click to page two.)

 

President Obama, addressing the issue during a news conference yesterday, said , "I think one of the great things about the United States has been our ability to maintain a distinction between our military and domestic law enforcement."

"That helps preserve our civil liberties," Obama continued. "That helps ensure that the military is accountable to civilian direction. And that has to be preserved."

On that note, here's arguably the tweet of the night:

And Obama's comments in mind as you process this:

Vezner reports that Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder -- the person responsible for all media calls pertaining to the training -- wasn't exactly forthcoming with information:

So at least now you know what's going on, even if, like Obama, you don't necessarily like it.

:::: UPDATE ::::

Here's video of the helicopters shot and put together by our web editor, Tatiana Craine:

Military Helicopters Weave Through Downtown Minneapolis from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.




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