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Thune said the helicopters flew so low over his West End home that he could “count the shoelaces on some of the guys hanging over the sides.”
Thune’s City Council office collected nearly 100 messages, texts and tweets from upset downtown residents. He said that there had been little or no prior notice of the exercises, and that even some police were confused.
Minneapolis City Council Member Jacob Frey said his office got “quite a few calls” from people who were both nervous and curious, while Council Member Lisa Goodman said she only got a couple.
“Even if I had a concern, I don’t think it would matter,” she said. “They have the right to use the airspace, and we don’t have the right to tell them they can’t.”
Hill said that the pilots’ flying skills at night “are unparalleled … we have the best equipment and pilots in the world.” He said that local police provide security so that those getting trained aren’t impeded by crowds, but he said it’s untrue that the military gives police surplus hardware in exchange for services.
“Terrorists are in the cities and the streets and all over the place,” he said. “This is an opportunity to honestly get pilots and crews out of their comfort zone, and give them the task of completing an assigned mission.”
Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035