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Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the where-is-your-flightplan? dept.

Crime 310

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes An air traffic control recording confirms that a New York Police Department helicopter flew at a drone hovering near the George Washington Bridge earlier this week—not the other way around. What's more, police had no idea what to charge the drone pilots with, and never appeared to fear a crash with the drone.
Two men were arrested Monday on felony reckless endangerment charges after the NYPD said the two flew their drone "very close" to a law enforcement chopper, causing the police helicopter to take evasive maneuvers. Air traffic control recordings suggest that only happened after the chopper pilot decided to chase the drone.

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Yay big government! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425807)

Let's give them MORE taxes and resources to use against us.

Re:Yay big government! (5, Insightful)

itsenrique (846636) | about 3 months ago | (#47426045)

Sorry, I'll bite. The problem is that the "anti-tax" people that are elected (and electable in the future) are not against giving more money and power to the police in general. And neither are the "pro-tax" people. This isn't about money. It's about power and authoritarian over-reach. You could take away their choppers and tanks and cut salaries but that wouldn't address the underlying issues. By trying to steer this into a conversation about taxes you fail to see the very real problems with police brutality, corruption, lying, profiling, and on and on. Now, back on topic...

Fix this like we fix education (-1, Flamebait)

drainbramage (588291) | about 3 months ago | (#47426101)

Schools not teaching, graduating kids that never learned to read or write but did learn how to put a condom on a banana (a very useful skill if you are approached by a sexually aggressive banana).....
Police doing everything but serving or protecting?
Send them more money, the unions say it's the only logical approach here in pretend it'll get better world..

Re:Fix this like we fix education (1, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47426197)

Schools not teaching, graduating kids that never learned to read or write but did learn how to put a condom on a banana (a very useful skill if you are approached by a sexually aggressive banana).....

Carl... tonight... YOU...

No, HandBanana, NO!!!

Couldn't help myself :)

Send them more money, the unions say it's the only logical approach here in pretend it'll get better world..

Isn't that basically the same idea behind the Mayday PAC? Yea, something tells me it's going to work just as well...

Re:Fix this like we fix education (5, Insightful)

visualight (468005) | about 3 months ago | (#47426357)

You're a god damn idiot, trying to tie this to sex education in schools and labor unions. Not everything wrong in the world is connected to the handful of issues that literally define your identity. An identity made for you by the likes of the Heritage Foundation, Freedomworks, and Americans For Prosperity ( and dozens more ).

I swear, for most of my life I've tried to be gentle when it comes to politics and religion, but look what that's got us. People like you who troll forums and try to find every opportunity to regurgitate the propaganda you're too stupid to see through.

Next time you feel like stretching the current topic into a place where you can insert a not-so-witty, not-so-clever comment on big-guvment or unions, just SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Re:Yay big government! (5, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#47426233)

Government, police, etc will always be corrupt. Always. People are people. The only defense is to give them just barely enough resources to do their job, with no excess or space for overreach. It's all about taxes - taxes are the only practical weapon the common voter has against government overreach, and the Constitution was written with this fundamental truth firmly in mind.

Of course, of all of Congress there are but a handful of congresscritters who actually are for less government spending, and usually the voter's choice is merely between which group of supporters the tax money will go to. That's a cultural problem in the US, and we can't begin to fix it until every call for lower taxes stops being dismissed with "you anarchist and probable racist, why do you want 0 government".

Fixing the problem starts with popular acceptance of the idea that one can say we're sending too much without being some extremist calling for the end of government. Less does not mean none - spread the word!

Re: Yay big government! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426329)

Nypd is well funded and full of the latest tech . Cry your ideology somewhere else

Re:Yay big government! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426563)

Business, private security, etc will always be corrupt. Always. People are people. Doesn't help that corporations are also bigger people. Taxes are the only practical weapon the common voter has against corporate overreach. What's your solution if we don't fund a group to watch them? We shouldn't just force agencies to spend our taxes wisely, but also demand how and to whom we allocate those taxes to.

Re:Yay big government! (5, Insightful)

FrozenToothbrush (3466403) | about 3 months ago | (#47426255)

What you're describing takes a fundamental change in the human condition of most people. Money and taxes are an enabler for those who are pro-authoritarian. I don't think the original posters thought should be dismissed so coldly.

Re:Yay big government! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426119)

Let's give them MORE taxes and resources to use against us.

This is the local police force - not "big government". Are you seriously suggesting we move law enforcement to actual private companies? The defacto public-private partnerships are bad enough - I don't think we want to go back to the days of the Pinkerton gangs.

Re:Yay big government! (2)

dubiousx99 (857639) | about 3 months ago | (#47426303)

Anything NYC related is big government. They have more money than many countries.

So (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about 3 months ago | (#47425819)

So when are reckless endangerment charges going to be filed against the pilot? He intentionally steered his craft towards an object that they admit through their own filings presented a risk of a crash.

Re:So (-1, Troll)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 3 months ago | (#47425843)

How is it reckless endangerment when the police were supposed to be in the area and did their job by investigating something suspicious?

Re:So (5, Informative)

sabri (584428) | about 3 months ago | (#47425883)

How is it reckless endangerment when the police were supposed to be in the area and did their job by investigating something suspicious?

Basic VFR separation guidelines still apply, even to a police helicopter.

Re:So (5, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 months ago | (#47425931)

*sigh* I just wasted moderator points - just posting to negate the effects . . . .

Since I'm here, I'll point out that cops do the same thing on the ground. They chase you, maybe you're doing 80 or 90, but the cop exceeds 100 mph catching up to you. The police report states that the chase exceeded 100 mph, and the judge looks at that, and throws several books at you.

It would be great if cops were trustworthy.

Re:So (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426289)

FAA, and probably NYPD police procedure, has a lot stricter guidelines with regard to vehicle pursuit regarding helicopters. While somewhat similar, this really is an apples and oranges scenario. Not everyone can fly a helicopter. Or a drone for that matter. Most everyone however, with the minimalist of experience, CAN drive a car.

That said, we likely won't see any charges going towards the police. Even though it sounds like they filed a false police report. Isn't that perjury? They are officers of the law! Hoping the 2 arrested file suit. LEO overstepping their bounds REALLY need to be put in their place quick and hard. They're in place to serve the public trust. Not the courts, jailers, or DOJ.

Re:So (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47426759)

Filing the false report is the first charge. Next up, unlawful imprisonment. Next up, reckless endangerment of everyone around them who could have been injured/killed (they themselves said it was a very dangerous situation, they don't get to say it was no big deal now). Finally, federal penalties for violating FAA rules and regulations. Perhaps the pilot should have his license suspended.

If NYPD is a police force rather than organized crime, they will see to it that all of the above happens AND release the men they arrested with deepest apologies.

Re:So (5, Informative)

sabri (584428) | about 3 months ago | (#47426471)

Since I'm here, I'll point out that cops do the same thing on the ground.

But they are not. And while they are police officers, they generally have no authority in the air. What flies in the air is all subject to the FAA and a regular officer (even those flying a police helicopter to assist ground units) are limited to FAA rules and regulations.

Unlike ground vehicles, a police helicopter will not be exempt from FAA flight rules and regulations. If the pilot is flying VFR, he is to maintain VFR separation from other flying objects, whether they are in the air lawful or not. The reasoning behind this is obviously that if he fails to do so and somehow crashes into it, his badge will not protect anyone on the ground from getting hurt from the crashing helicopter or whatever object he flies into.

Furthermore, his badge will give him police authority, but the FAA can simply revoke his pilot's license and ground him.

Re:So (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 3 months ago | (#47426677)

When you think about it, this is the only sensible approach. Do you want every municipality that owns a helicopter to be trying to police aircraft that are flying overhead? Maybe the plane's registration is bogus. Great, call it in to the FAA as a good citizen and let them deal with it.

There are a lot of safety issues when you try to deal with issues in the air. Indeed, I've heard ATC recordings where ATC is basically trying to ream somebody out for not following procedures correctly, and that is also something that shouldn't happen. Deal with problems on the ground - if somebody violates the rules they should record it and refer it for enforcement action and write up a report. Trying to deal with problems in the air just means you're putting others at risk by not doing your job.

I'm all for enforcement, but at the right time and place.

Perhaps stupid question (2)

Bananenrepublik (49759) | about 3 months ago | (#47426015)

How do these rules deal with the possibility that you cannot gauge the distance? For an object in midair the only available measure of distance is the size of the object. A drone is much smaller than any object you're usually encountering in steady flight (another helicopter, say). Hence you're going to significantly overestimate the distance. Or so would be my thought. Please educate.

Re:Perhaps stupid question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426059)

Dumb shit [wikipedia.org]

Re:Perhaps stupid question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426683)

Small vs. far away [youtube.com]

Re: Perhaps stupid question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426351)

A drone is much smaller than any object you're usually encountering in steady flight (another helicopter, say). Hence you're going to significantly overestimate the distance. Or so would be my thought.

Had you figured out how to keep large birds (like geese) from flying near planes? If so, please do tell. I was under the impression that pilots usually kept an eye out for them and tried to avoid them whenever possible.

Re:Perhaps stupid question (2)

sabri (584428) | about 3 months ago | (#47426437)

Please educate.

They were under ATC. ATC can track objects in the air, even if they're not using a transponder. Using primary radar, ATC will be able to provide traffic advisories. Police helicopters usually fly under "flight following", meaning they would like to be informed of other traffic.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426739)

So let's refer this to the FAA and let the cop lose his pilot's license. He clearly can't be trusted with his toys.

Re:So (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425885)

They lied about the drone flying at and following the helicopter. It was, in fact the helicopter that flew recklessly at the drone. IOW, the NYPD falsified their report in order to make an arrest.

Re:So (5, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 3 months ago | (#47426073)

Yet we will not see perjury charges against them. How quaint.

Re:So (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 3 months ago | (#47426211)

Did you listen to the audio? While the pilot is talking to the tower he clearly says the drone "did a 180" and "is right over us now". He followed it after it turned and went away.

Re:So (4, Informative)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 3 months ago | (#47426349)

The pilot also said that the drone accomplished a Mach 0.9 vertical ascent.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426525)

First, you have the order wrong. He said that the drone was over him and then did a 180. He obviously flew to the drone when he saw it take off and flew under . He also identified the drone as "military" and went from 0 to 2000 feet in about two seconds. I think he got overly excited like cops are known to do when in a potentially dangerous situation (Drones! Terrorists!) and overestimated the drone's location, speed and direction. He never once claimed he had to take evasive maneuvers to avoid the drone.

Re:So (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 3 months ago | (#47426405)

Hell there was a case where police raided a home looking for someone who wasn't even there. In the process tossed a flashbang in a kids crib....then disclaimed all responsibility and said it might even lead to charges against the...PERSON WHO WASN'T THERE!

Thats right, if the police have reason to suspect you of something, they are of the opinion its your fault they are investigating and you are responsible for any harm they cause to anyone else by their own actions.

Re:So (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 3 months ago | (#47426577)

They lied about the drone flying at and following the helicopter. It was, in fact the helicopter that flew recklessly at the drone. IOW, the NYPD falsified their report in order to make an arrest.

It sounds like a high tech version of 'The suspect repeatedly struck my fist with his face'.

Re:So (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425899)

Cops can't drive mosnster trucks over everything just because they are investigating something suspicious.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426005)

Yet...

Re:So (3, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | about 3 months ago | (#47426075)

Cops can't drive mosnster trucks over everything just because they are investigating something suspicious.

Give them time. They seem to be gearing up [keepmecurrent.com] to do just that.

Re:So (4, Interesting)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#47426143)

Those small-cities which buy surplus APC's for their 'SWAT' teams beg to differ.

They're the police, and due to their newly found paramilitary status are better able to keep us safe. Like from your dog. Did you know it was a threat? It is.. or was, that's why they shot and killed it when breaking into your house.

Re:So (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 3 months ago | (#47425955)

Because the police did not have to get so close to investigate.... It is like cops can be charged with reckless endangerment if they cause issues in a chase if it is determined they should not have been doing what they should have been doing. There is supposed to be a reasonableness to their actions.

Re:So (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425909)

So... they filed a false report.
  Fire them and press charges. We can't have the police lying on reports.

Re:So (2, Informative)

roc97007 (608802) | about 3 months ago | (#47426083)

We can't have the police lying on reports.

Thanks for that. I needed a good laugh today.

Re:So (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 months ago | (#47426123)

So... they filed a false report.

  Fire them and press charges. We can't have the police lying on reports.

Fuck that. Execute them in the public square.

Re:So (3, Insightful)

thaylin (555395) | about 3 months ago | (#47426153)

More likely they will fire the flight controller for recording them.

Re:So (4, Insightful)

racermd (314140) | about 3 months ago | (#47426345)

The flight controller didn't do any of the recording. The FAA (a *federal* agency, mind you) mandates ALL radio transmissions be recorded. The flight controller's only job is to control traffic. They have zero ability to trigger, delete, modify, etc., recordings. The pilot of every aircraft should know this so it wouldn't be something they'd be all that concerned about. Their supervisors/managers on the ground may not know this, however... And the FAA is quite good about responding to FOIA requests.

Also, firing a federal employee is actually really hard, even for cause. Usually, they're just given a crappy job with almost nothing to do so they'll feel motivated to quit on their own. Trust me, that's actually a LOT easier than getting firing someone at the federal level. Besides, even the NYPD can't get a federal employee fired since the NYPD is a state-level agency.

The most likely outcome, in my opinion, is that the NYPD will grudgingly admit their mistake, tell the pair to knock it off in some semi-friendly manner while the cameras are watching, then go back to business-as-usual until they're caught in their own lies again. Meanwhile, we'll all continue to bitch and moan about the "police state" and post ignorant comments in random places on the internet. Heck, I'm doing that right now!

Re: So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426497)

The flight controller didn't do any of the recording. The FAA (a *federal* agency, mind you) mandates ALL radio transmissions be recorded. The flight controller's only job is to control traffic. They have zero ability to trigger, delete, modify, etc., recordings.

Must come as quite a shock to the boys in blue. They're probably used to dealing with evidence captured on their dashcam recorders.

Re:So (1)

mpe (36238) | about 3 months ago | (#47426465)

So when are reckless endangerment charges going to be filed against the pilot? He intentionally steered his craft towards an object that they admit through their own filings presented a risk of a crash.

Was the pilot the only occupant of this aircraft?
Possibly more important what happens to the two men falsely arrested? Are there procedures to "annull" any record of their arrest?

Re:So (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 months ago | (#47426679)

Who cares if the pilot was the only one onboard, a crash of a full sized helicopter full of fuel is a significant risk to everyone in the vicinity. As to the charges, sure there's expungement (though in some states you can only expunge convictions, not arrests), but unfortunately for these guys they ran to the media so there's a more or less permanent record.

Do you feel safe yet? (3, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | about 3 months ago | (#47425833)

Gotta keep those conviction numbers up to justify your DHS endowments. What matter if you destroy a few lives in the process?

Typical (2)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 months ago | (#47425839)

Just when they say someone fell down the stairs, or resisted arrest. I wonder what the penalty will be for lying...

Re:Typical (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425961)

I wonder what the penalty will be for lying...

Nothing.

if the cops actually do back down, they will say something like, "It was an error " - something like that in the third person. Not "We were in error." or "The NYPD apologizes for the false arrest." or anything that would show honesty, responsibility, a desire to serve and protect, or anything that would earn the respect for the badge.

Instead the NYPD are a disgrace and nothing but grunts and thugs with badges and guns.

Remember 9-11? Along with all those poor FDNY guys who died, a few cops got taken out also actually helping people - not many - but a few.

There were TONS of memorials and honors given to the New York Firemen who died, but NOTHING for the NY police who did.

I wonder why.

Re:Typical (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426187)

Remember 9-11? Along with all those poor FDNY guys who died, a few cops got taken out also actually helping people - not many - but a few.

There were TONS of memorials and honors given to the New York Firemen who died, but NOTHING for the NY police who did.

I wonder why.

Agreeing with you: By and large, cops are cowards. They're #1 priority is making sure "they get home safe". They are a bunch of backstabbing murderers as attested to by every cop who has never filed complaints with IA against other officers because "They need to make sure they have each others' backs". If your partner will murder you because you truthfully testify that he lies on his timesheet, that mofo should not be a cop with a gun. Interactions with cops generally is a bad experience. They've even gone to the Supreme court to demand they NOT be obligated to protect people:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia

Contrast that with the fire department. Sure, there are corrupt fire inspectors and crap, but there's no red/blue wall of silence about it. If I'm passed out from smoke inhalation and the guy breaking down the door and carrying me to safety wants to lighten my wallet while another is doing the CPR thing, I'm AOK with that.

Re:Typical (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47426215)

If history is any indicator? Minimum 2 weeks paid vacation, er, "suspension."

Obviously we all got into the wrong lines of work.

you would think prop wash would down the drone (3, Interesting)

swschrad (312009) | about 3 months ago | (#47425863)

helicopters ride on a LOT of air. the cops could have just gotten over the drone and slapped it down.

Re:you would think prop wash would down the drone (4, Insightful)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 3 months ago | (#47426169)

I've personally seen how the rotorwash of a helo more than a half mile away turned over a 25 lb aircraft during a design competition fly-off back in my college days in Florida. Damn good pilot from Univ. of Puerto Rico recovered a highly loaded bird from fully inverted and brought it in. I have no doubt that a 5 lb quad-copter would get tossed around like a speck of dust. Either they weren't that close, or the autopilot did a hell of a job keeping the thing upright and under control.

Obligatory Car Analogy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425865)

So, the cop saw someone breaking the law, gave chase, and then they're the bad guys because the suspect tried to ram them?

I am a drone pilot, electrical engineer and have worked extensively with UAV safety systems, particularly in designed DAA systems. No drone, or "remotely piloted aircraft" in DoD newspeak, should be flown over a populated area. None of them are designed to the level of assurance that are required of digital fly by wire aircraft. There are a bunch of apologists who cry "but they're small". Go ahead, drop a battery from a hundred feet on your head. They're inherently dangerous. They should not be flown over populated areas until they've demonstrated the level of safety required of other fly by wire aircraft.

Obligatory painful comment (5, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about 3 months ago | (#47425937)

I guess every story has at least one.

So, the cop saw someone breaking the law, gave chase, and then they're the bad guys because the suspect tried to ram them?

No, you twit. They're bad guys for lying about it.

No drone, or "remotely piloted aircraft" in DoD newspeak, should be flown over a populated area.

Charge them for what they did do, not make shit up about what they didn't do. This isn't hard.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425949)

No, they're bad guys because they falisified a fucking police report.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425977)

There are a bunch of apologists who cry "but they're small". Go ahead, drop a battery from a hundred feet on your head. .

I was hit in the head with a R10MF from quite an altitude. Didn't hurt so bad.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 3 months ago | (#47425989)

No, the local cop saw someone speeding, chased him down, and then charged the person with drug possession after tossing a dime bag in the back seat after pulling them over.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (4, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 3 months ago | (#47426027)

There is no information that the drone tried to ram the helicopter, you are making that up. What information we do have indicates that the helicopter rushed the drone then gave chase when it left the area. From this the police charged the people with reckless endangerment because their helicopter got close to the drone. If there was reckless endangerment it was on the part of the police.

Baring other details being released IMO this isn't much different than the police arresting photographers photographing them for wiretapping or violating their privacy and other such nonsense. The police created this situation deliberately so they could charge the guys. Not much different than the video's of them screaming stop resisting while they beat someone unconsciousness that isn't resisting.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426053)

Ok. Explain why it is LEGAL to fly small remote controlled aircraft, as large a 1/4 scale with jet engines, over populated areas?
Your argument is invalid as hobbyists have been flying these types of fixed wing and helicopters for well over the past 40 years.

Wayne

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (5, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 3 months ago | (#47426161)

It is legal because there is no Law against it.

Everything is legal that is not prohibited by a Law.

Laws are a blacklist, not a whitelist, just like the Constitution is a blacklist of things government is not allowed to do, not a whitelist of things Citizens ARE allowed to do.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426295)

The US Constitution is not a black list it is a white list. It is a document stating which powers The People give the government. This idea has been lost on many people, and I believe is the source of many of the problems we see.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426453)

Actually, it's both.
The Constitution (as originally drafted) is, indeed, a white list of powers *granted* to the federal government.
The Bill of Rights, on the other hand, is a black list of powers specifically *prohibited* to the federal government.
The remaining Amendments are a mix of the two.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (5, Interesting)

cdrudge (68377) | about 3 months ago | (#47426067)

No drone, or "remotely piloted aircraft" in DoD newspeak, should be flown over a populated area.

So would flying them over a large body of mostly unoccupied water be ok? Like perhaps a river that's 2/3 of a mile wide?

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 3 months ago | (#47426727)

No drone, or "remotely piloted aircraft" in DoD newspeak, should be flown over a populated area.

So would flying them over a large body of mostly unoccupied water be ok? Like perhaps a river that's 2/3 of a mile wide?

You can clearly hear in the recording that it went between buildings. It wasn't constantly over the water.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426089)

Go ahead, drop a battery from a hundred feet on your head.

Why would drones drop batteries onto people's heads?

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426151)

" No drone, or "remotely piloted aircraft" in DoD newspeak, should be flown over a populated area."

You put the knife in your own argument with the word, "should."

That's right, it is NOT against the law to fly a remote controlled aerial vehicle in a populated area. Not any law at all. It sounds like you probably work for a regulatory firm who stands to make a lot of money on standards certification for remote controlled toys.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 3 months ago | (#47426325)

This thinking that everything not explicitly listed as unlawful is legal is a strange one - and simply not true.

Just because there are no law that forbids flying RC aircraft over a populated area doesn't mean one is allowed to. Just as there are no explicit law text forbidding reversing in ones car in a parking space - but one can still be arrested for doing that in some situations.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426389)

I don't think you understand how laws work. And yes if there is no law explicitly stating something is illegal then it is legal. Otherwise rule of law could not be applied because the fact that it is not defined means that no one actually knows what the law is. That leads to nothing but chaos.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426571)

Actually, that's exactly what it means in the US. If there is now law prohibiting an action, it is legal to take that action. For something to be illegal, it must be specified as such in written law as voted upon by the relevant federal, state, or local legislative body.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 3 months ago | (#47426209)

No, they're the bad guys because they (to use the car analogy) saw someone slightly speeding, pulled in front of them, jammed on their brakes in such a way that the guy couldn't avoid crashing into them, and wrote it up in the police report that the guy started chasing them and crashed into them unprovoked.

In short, they lied on the police report to make it seem as though the drone operators were at fault when the police were. Were the drone operators doing something wrong? Possibly. But if they were, arrest them/charge them with what they actually did wrong, not what the police did wrong to come up with something to charge them with.

Re:Obligatory Car Analogy (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 months ago | (#47426673)

What law were they breaking? And why weren't they charged with that? Why did the police lie so that they could charge them with something else?
The drone pilots may have been legally in the wrong, but that does not justify the police lying.

You know what'll happen next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425881)

Tighter drone regulation! You heard it here first.

Cops love to make stuff up! (1)

KillerBeeze (756541) | about 3 months ago | (#47425889)

Cops love to make stuff up! Just to charge the "perp" with as many charges as possible!

Incoming South Park Reference (5, Funny)

DeathByLlama (2813725) | about 3 months ago | (#47425901)

/// Drone hovers lazily next to the river ///
NYPD: It's coming right for us! *BANG BANG BANG*

Every drone is an imminent threat.

Re:Incoming South Park Reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426023)

It's not as good without Ned's electrolarynx [wikipedia.org] .

ATC recordings will be taken for investigation (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425921)

Sounds to me like the police need to seize those ATC recordings as part of their investigation into this incident. When the police have the evidence in their possession about what happened, then they'll let us know what evidence they want to let us see in accordance to what verdict they want the outcome to have.

Anything else would be prejudicial and could not be supported as factual evidence from a free world.

"I'm seeing nothing on radar" (1)

frootcakeuk (638517) | about 3 months ago | (#47425947)

I had no idea these things are police radar evasive. Perhaps why the filth et al are really hating these things atm.

So, Lying is the new norm now for LEOs? (2)

lamer01 (1097759) | about 3 months ago | (#47425959)

Have we seen an instance where they have not lied to cover any of their questionable actions in the last decade or so?

Re:So, Lying is the new norm now for LEOs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425993)

This is the NYPD you're talking about. I'd be stunned if they weren't lying.

Re:So, Lying is the new norm now for LEOs? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426185)

There's nothing to stop them or even discourage them doing so. In fact procedure often encourages lying to the populace.

It's getting to the point where lethal force will be a justified response to ANY LEO approaching you, your family or your home. Sure it'll still be completely illegal, but from an ethical and survival standpoint, you're being approached by armored, heavily armed, trained forces hostile to any and all life not wearing a similar uniform.

Re:So, Lying is the new norm now for LEOs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426193)

No, lying is not a new thing for police, they have been doing that for a very long time.

Unclear if any law was viaolated (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47425983)

First of all the police will have to prove that the operators were not in visual range of the craft for any charges to be valid.

It is not against the law to operate a radio controlled craft in populated areas. AS long as the craft is within line of site of the operators and is being controlled through means of radio communication then no laws were broken by anyone by the police.

Suspicion of Military - Take it down* instinct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426009)

NYPD—He has to be military. He's moving. He's right over top of us right now, LaGuardia. He did a 180 really quick. Going down the east river at this time. I just want to make sure its not a drone

So... (5, Insightful)

saleenS281 (859657) | about 3 months ago | (#47426057)

The cops who falsified their reports are going to jail, right? If I am found falsely testifying under oath, that's my sentencing. What? They'll get off with a slap on the wrist and *MAYBE* a week's paid vacation? I wonder why citizens distrust police in this country.

Re:So... (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 3 months ago | (#47426097)

If Lloyd Blankfein and others who attested to the veracity of their financial reports even after they were repeatedly warned their mark-to-market was completely unrealistic, which in turn led to the largest financial disaster in over 70 years, are not being prosecuted for false reporting, I don't see why the police should be.

Especially as in this case no one was harmed. Can't say the same thing about the millions who lost their money or homes, can you?

NO ONE WAS HARMED? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426227)

Being falsely arrested, held and charged with a felony isn't harm?

Not only were they unlawfully deprived of their freedom but they also now have an arrest and felony charges on their permanent record.

Maybe your employer doesn't really care if you drop off the face of the earth for a couple of days, but mine would certainly mind if I did, and I imagine most other employers would too. And having an arrest record could damage their chances of getting jobs in the future, even if they're acquitted.

Re:So... (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 3 months ago | (#47426231)

If being charged with a felony doesn't harm anyone, may I charge you with one? After all, if you're innocent, you have nothing to fear, right?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426363)

If Lloyd Blankfein and others who attested to the veracity of their financial reports even after they were repeatedly warned their mark-to-market was completely unrealistic, which in turn led to the largest financial disaster in over 70 years, are not being prosecuted for false reporting, I don't see why the police should be.

Because they are two separate lies. You've made a great argument for why we SHOULD charge Blankfein with false reporting, but that doesn't mean that the law should be abandoned completely.

Especially as in this case no one was harmed.

Putting someone in undue risk by flying recklessly is harm. Wasting tax dollars on angry helicopter stunts is harm.

This is pathetic. Look, I'm mad about the financial disaster too. But that is not an excuse to crank on the same issue every time someone gets away with lying. You'd love for us to drop everything and just focus on your pet enemy.

Re:So... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | about 3 months ago | (#47426761)

I hope your "no one was harmed" thing was tongue in cheek. First off, for the rest of these gentlemen's lives, a simple search on google will associate their name with the original news stories that may or may not be updated to prove their innocence. But MOST importantly - they were taken into custody and held against their will, after doing nothing wrong. And the police did this KNOWINGLY. Under any other circumstances that would be called kidnapping, and they would have grounds to civil recompense. The *ONLY* issue here is that they can't personally sue the police officers, which is something that needs to change in our justice system to curb this behavior.

Could go both ways. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426139)

Generally speaking when it comes to the FAA's turf the cops are just that, another damn blade in the air, its not like on the highway where they just get to strut their shit all willy nilly.

Why not just shoot the damn thing down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426171)

A hail of bullets is good enough for most any other situation. Bonus points if the falling bullets manage to cause any collateral injuries or deaths.

The cops should be fired, charged, and jailed. (4, Insightful)

Greg Heller (3031971) | about 3 months ago | (#47426249)

Filing a false report is a very serious charge as a civilian -- it should be even worse when a couple of cops do it. Lets take a look at this, false arrest, filing false reports, just generally conduct unbecoming, big payout to those falsely arrested.My hat is off to those folks over at the FAA. We can count on the FAA to be honorable and straight shooting, about the only Federal Agency that still cares about doing their job right.

Re:The cops should be fired, charged, and jailed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426503)

you know this may be because they are the only TLA that actually has a mandate to protect millions of people each day.

Unlike other TLA the FAA has a mandate to protect the millions of people who fly every day and all those on the ground as well. They only have one job. keep the skies safe, or put more simply, "Don't Fuck Up".

Just typical of dumbass libertarians on Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426263)

They think that their small unmanned drones have the right of way in airspace over a manned helicopter. If the helicopter were carrying the Koch brothers instead of police officers, they'd be screaming for domestic terrorism and attempted murder charges against the operators of the drones.

Impressive climb rate for a drone (3, Insightful)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 3 months ago | (#47426267)

One of the helo officers claims this thing went from 0-2000 ft in 2 seconds. I'll believe that out of a model rocket, or maybe a Diamond Dust with a tuned pipe, but not out of a quadcopter loaded down with a camera. This officer was likely exaggerating what he saw for effect.

Re:Impressive climb rate for a drone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426649)

One of the helo officers claims this thing went from 0-2000 ft in 2 seconds. I'll believe that out of a model rocket, or maybe a Diamond Dust with a tuned pipe, but not out of a quadcopter loaded down with a camera. This officer was likely exaggerating what he saw for effect.

Clearly they thought it was Ironman and tried to get an autograph. When they realized they were wrong they didn't want to look stupid and fictionalized the encounter xD.

w00t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426383)

ask NSA for the satellite data of the flight

It's a simple toy for crying out loud!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47426681)

The drone pictured is a DJI Phantom... weighs about a pound and can may be go a few hundred feet away before losing the wifi signal. People use these all the time to get nice video from up high, and a bridge is a cool place to do that. They're not going to harm the bridge or the helicopter!! About the worst you can do with it is try to ram someone in the head... the blades could hurt. A little much drama, NYPD? No need to chase it... its battery will die in a few minutes and will have to be brought in for a landing. You can then walk up to the person who has it and ask them about it. Geeeezzzz...

Your tax dollars @ work (1)

mrex (25183) | about 3 months ago | (#47426693)

Wow, NYPD runs ELINT vehicles capable of triangulating radio signals?

Jurisdiction (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47426709)

I'm listening to the recording of the radio communications. The drone was over 2000' altitude. At first, the cops in the helicopter aren't sure what they're seeing, and they first think it's a fast-moving aircraft in a vertical climb, over the East River. It has red and green lights, like aircraft do. They ask La Guardia ATC radar what they're seeing. ATC isn't seeing it on radar. Then they get closer and see it's a drone of some kind. In a few minutes it's over the George Washington Bridge, miles from the East River.

Once the guys who were operating them were caught, the cops are on the air discussing what to charge them with. The cops on the ground call them "tiny little toys". There's some discussion of "if it's over 1000', it's reckless". The cops aren't quite sure what to charge them with.

The FAA can certainly have them prosecuted. They were operating a drone in class B controlled airspace. That's serious, and dumb. Here's the New York City airspace chart. [vfrmap.com] (Yes, there's actually a VFR corridor over the Hudson River; it's permitted to fly along the river at up to 1300' altitude. There used to be one over the East River, too, but after some jock slammed a light plane into a Manhattan apartment building [wikipedia.org] by going too fast there, it was closed to VFR traffic. These drone operators didn't stay in the VFR corridor, and probably had no clue where it was anyway.)

The drone guys were lucky. LGA has two intersecting runways, 4-22 and 13-31. The one in use depends on wind direction. The approach to 13 and the departure from 31 are over where the drones were operating. LGA happened to be using 4-22 that day. If the other runway had been in use, there would have been a large plane in the area ever 45 seconds or so.

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