Police in upstate New York arrested 49-year-old David Beesmer for unlawful surveillance this week after they observed him flying a drone outside the windows of a medical facility as staff examined patients.
A police account, reported by the Smoking Gun, says patients and staff observed the drone flying 10 to 15 feet from the windows.
In a Facebook post, Beesmer described the incident as a “huge error in judgment” and said he took the footage after dropping his mother off for a doctor’s appointment. He claimed that the drone’s cameras can’t see inside windows.
Beesmer’s Facebook page also shows photos of what appears to be his drone:
The device is the popular DJI Phantom 2, which is the same model my colleague Signe Brewster used to take beautiful photos of San Francisco.
Police released Beesmer to face the felony surveillance charge at a later date. The incident is likely to provide more grist for the debate over how to regulate unmanned aircraft, which have the potential to reshape a range of industries, but are also touching off privacy concerns.