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Drone on the beach leads to assault of pilot

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A viral video is making the rounds that shows an angry woman assaulting a young man for flying his drone on a Connecticut beach. She pulls his hair, tears his shirt and calls him a pervert, while screaming “you shouldn’t be taking pictures of people on the beach.”

The woman calls the police but, ironically, she is the one who is arrested for beating on the drone pilot, who reportedly clears himself of wrongdoing thanks to the fact that he recorded the episode with his iPhone. You can watch the incident below, which allegedly took place in May.

I’m posting the clip not only as an example of a man/woman-vs.-technology conflict, but also because it raises the question of who should take the lead in resolving disputes over consumer drones.

The FAA has grabbed most of the headlines so far, in part due to a heavy-handed approach that has grounded drones in many situations. But as the beach incident suggests, local police will have a growing role as the devices become more popular, and will have to decide how to apply disturbing-the-peace laws to hobbyists — like my colleague Signe Brewer, who flew a drone around San Francisco.

The issue is likely to become still more complicated as state governments attempt to pass laws limiting the use of drones by law enforcement and private citizens.

Here’s the video via LiveLink as reported by Daily Dot:

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25 Responses to “Drone on the beach leads to assault of pilot”

  1. ftchere

    I do know that if the tape showed anyone “assaulting” me like that, the tape would also show my fist removing her head from her shoulders. It’s called “self defense”.

  2. Steve Ayers

    I think this girl has a pretty high opinion of herself if she thinks someone would actually want to take pictures of her. Judging by the video, no one would be taking pictures of her. I wonder how many of the Google “Street View” mobile vehicle drivers get assaulted?

  3. This entire debate aside, the legality of photography is very clear. If he wanted to go to the beach to take photos of children – that’s completely legal. Sure, it might make him a creeper (depending on the artistic direction of the shots), be extremely rude (if he didn’t ask the parents beforehand), but he would be within legal limits. So even then, the lady would have no right to do what she did.

    Since it’s a public space, he could photograph her all he wants without her explicit content. He would only need a model release if he planned on selling the images (and that’s only if the person is identifiable)

    This is in general, local laws may vary.

  4. InterstellarAxeman

    I`m uncomfortable with her behavior….clearly a psychotic. She used force and violence against him and by letter of law that was criminal restraint,..aka KIDNAPPING. A federal felony with major time behind it. Shes got kids? Take them away for their own safety.Until people realize they are almost 99% of the time never in your picture they don`t have to duck,stop, panic, or modify their behavior in any way nevermind coming to blows.
    Its rare that someone would be doing what she alleged,..she the cop of the world. The resolution on that camera from the height used wont show any detail of concern. That lady needs help,…now she will get it. Paranoid public induced mass hysteria,….its coming to your town too. People go out of their minds these days when a camera is near. Great topic.

  5. Jonas M Luster

    Photography is not a crime. What he did was 100% within his rights. What makes me so angry here is the double standard – if someone beats someone up for doing something that is 100% legal, that someone needs to go to jail. Simple as that.

    If this had been a different situation, say a home owner beating someone up for standing outside their house, or a person beating someone up for peacefully and legally protesting, the news would have been full of “vigilante X” stories. But rip someone’s Glass off and smash it or beat up a UAV operator and you’re suddenly OK?

    But because it was a “drone” (it’s not, it’s a UAV), and because it’s OK to side with the attacker if the attacker is beating some “rich kid creeping with a drone”, things change? Here’s what you do when you’re creeped out: you call the cops. You have the cops talk to the person. You don’t go all George Zimmerman on some guy because he makes you “uncomfortable”.

    If this becomes the social standard, I am OK to use violence against people who do things that make me uncomfortable, I fear for most people and will stock up on weaponry.

  6. jasonbarton72

    You guys need to read deeper, there is more info out there than this article expresses. This guy was flying over 50ft, taking pics of the beach, you can’t make out faces or body features like a “creeper” would want. He was not following anyone, just taking pics, in public which is legally allowed.

    • jasonbarton72

      1. He wasn’t taking pictures of her.
      2. Even if he was (which he wasn’t) he still would not have been breaking the law.
      3. Being offended by a legal activity doesn’t give someone the right to fabricate a lie so the police side with your imaginary rights.

    • Timothy Weaver

      You don’t need permission to take pictures in public spaces. That’s the law. Don’t like it, then don’t go out in public. Geez. She was on a public beach, and some people want to apply rules as if she was inside her house or fenced backyard.

    • Steve Ayers

      She was in a public place. He doesn’t need her permission to take pictures of her or anything else. There is no “expectation of privacy” on a public beach.

  7. Patrick Jackson

    This guy is a loser. He creeps in on this girl with his drone, creeps her out by video taping her, then sets her up by baiting her and taping the incident when she gets (understandably) upset.

    “Will you please stop assaulting me?” WTF says that? A loser that just got caught peeping with his drone.

  8. The thought occurs to me that we don’t know what happened before this segment of video.

    For all I know, he was filming her in an inappropriate manner. What exactly was he trying to film before the video starts, when she starts beating on him and calling him a pervert?

    I suspect that there may be more to the story than shown in this short video clip.

    • jasonbarton72

      You are right, here is more than this article expresses, google this and take a look at all the footage. The guy was not a creeper, he was flying above 50ft, taking pics of the beach. Nobody is clearly identifiable, he isn’t following anyone, he’s taking pictures from altitude, which he is legally allowed to do. Had he not recorded the altercation, he would have been arrested for assault because a crazy lady had her imaginary rights stepped on and decided to fabricate a lie to get the police on her side. She assumed the “helicopter plane” was doing something bad, because thats how the media paints drones.

    • Will White

      Anyone notice that his fly is unzipped? Certainly both could have handled the situation in the time that the video is rolling, but in the end, we have no idea what was happening here. And I have seen plenty of creepers using drones to harass women, you gotta wonder why she is so pissed off … and why his fly is down. Just sayin … there is more here than we can possibly know.

  9. Frank Miller

    I was just looking at a story on Valleywag about some protesters showing up at some Googler’s house and cursing into his intercom. Now I come over here and watch video of some guy with his RC helicopter that has a camera on it being physically assaulted but a woman no less. When did we take a turn into surreal mode?