A Kansas City family says they were unsettled last week to find a surveillance camera pointed at their home.
“It was very scary and very creepy,” Stephanie Santos of Platte City told the Kansas Star. Santos lives in a duplex with her family, including two young children, while her father lives in the adjacent unit.
On Thursday, she said, her father noticed the camera, mounted on a tree and pointed at Santos' windows and backyard. The tree is located on private property owned by another Jackson County resident, according to KLTV.
Santos told the Star that when she called police on Friday, an officer admitted the camera belonged to the department. The officer reportedly claimed the camera was monitoring people coming through the woods.
Santos says that reason makes no sense. "There's nowhere to go," she told the paper, "You can't cut through."
Santos suspects the camera was really an attempt to catch her father feeding feral cats, a city offense. The man had been placed on probation after being charged with feeding the animals last year.
ACLU attorney Doug Bonney described the incident as "Orwellian misconduct" in a letter to the Platte City Police Department, the Associated Press reports.
Bonney told the AP there is no indication the department had a warrant for the camera.
City Administrator D.J. Gehrt has stated that the city is investigating the issue.
Recently, the ACLU developed a new way for civilians to turn the camera back on police. In June, the New Jersey chapter of organization released an Android phone app called "Police Tape," which allows people to discreetly record their interactions with law enforcement officials.