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First run in with neighbor.....and the law

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ridebonfire, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. Ridebonfire

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    I haven't flown my P4 in weeks because it's too dang hot. I installed the last firmware update and took it out for 9 minutes until the battery was low. As I landed, a strange guy pulled up and looked curious and asked how far that goes. I said it can go around 3 miles on a good day and I started to approach him thinking he was friendly and was going to talk. He immediately revved away from me and got all sketch so I backed up. He took his phone out and started looking for my address obviously. I said my address is XYZ, I'm not doing anything illegal. He was recording me and said so are you recording people? You ar huh? And then took off. This was around 8:30pm.

    I literally flew straight down my street block. I live on a hill/mountain so I have an excellent view and clear line of sight. I probably didn't get much more than 1/2 mile away. I live in a community that basically backs up to a wash and wide open desert but have to pass a few houses to get ther, so I really don't fly over any houses and when I rarely do its at about 350' and long enough to fly over.

    At about 10:30pm I get a knock on the door which wakes my 2 and 4 year old kids up. It was the police. Dude called 911 and reported me. The cop was pretty cool and said he had to just take my information down and give me a warning. He said it would be best not to fly around there again because if they got called back, they would have to wrte me up for disorderly conduct and it would be up to the prosecutor if they wanted to pursue it. I told him that it's just a case of his word against mine, what if the guy just starts calling. Also, how is he or even you going to be abl to identify a small object 300+ feet in the sky moving 20+ mph as mine?

    The guy claimed I was hovering over his house for 5 minutes taking pictures and video at 50' above his house. Mind you, my entire flight was not even 10 minutes, I did zero hovering, I never hover over houses, and I wasn't even cording that flight.

    I can't believe I was told if they get called again I am getting a ticket.
     
  2. JWarren

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    What a crock! I'd call a lawyer, fire up the Phantom and do a few tours of the neighborhood.
     
  3. Dirty Bird

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    Next time you see the guy I would just call 911 & report he was stalking your kids, recording them, & you are calling to report him as a potential pedophile. Maybe they'll threaten to charge him with disorderly conduct next time they get a report? SMH....

     
  4. msinger

    Approved Vendor

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    Don't sweat it. If the cops show up again, load up your favorite web browser, upload your TXT flight log here, and you can show them your entire flight. The cops will eventually grow weary of reviewing uneventful flight logs at your house :)
     
    #4 msinger, Jun 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  5. konidair

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    Didn't your connected tablet/phone record the flight? Just show the video to the officer and send him to knock on your neighbor's door ;)
     
  6. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Kill them with kindness. Next time someone asks like that immediately offer to let them watch the live video feed so they can get a feel for what exactly what everything looks like from 100'+ high. Do the same for the PD. It's also a VERY good idea to make a strong "positive" connection with the PD. Offer to do demonstrations for them or video one of their training events or something (obviously FREE). Be an ambassador of the hobby to them and next time they get a call they may just nip it in the bud for you. You want the PD to have a firm grasp of the true capabilities and the short comings of this technology. I'm speaking of first hand experience at this point.

    Whatever you do I would not "just wait and see" if it happens again. If the guy genuinely believes you were doing what he said (remember his perception is now his reality and he may firmly believe it to be true) he's going to call again and you want to be proactive not reactive.

    The media has done such a huge disservice to our industry pushing BS and misinformation and literally creating a problem when there was none. John Q. Public has been "taught" that all drones are peeping Tom devices with AMAZING video resolution (night and day) and phenomenal zoom capabilities which I am more than happy to prove wrong to whoever will listen to me. We have a serious uphill battle ahead of us and we have got to work together and educate everyone we come in contact with. Intelligence really is power and that's never been more true than in this situation.
     
    Tarzan!, Mike_Flys, RodC and 21 others like this.
  7. r62ewa

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    It is also illegal to make false reports to the police. I see it that you can easily turn the tables on your neighbour by doing as others say and showing your recorded flight path from your DJI Go App. I'd say your neighbour will be quickly singing a different tune.
     
    Windsun33, Mike_Flys, RodC and 5 others like this.
  8. 28wins

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    Very sorry you had to deal with this.
    The knock waking up your 2 and 4 years olds is *very* annoying.

    Besides some excellent recommendations made so far, including being able to readily show the flight path and possible the footage to the Police, I would personally avoid doing anything where you live and if possible anything near other people
    There is no reason to make it easier for anyone to get back straight to your front door/ home.

    I can think of two ways of doing this:

    1) Get a lawyer to have one at the ready and do not talk to anyone, including or especially the Police

    2) Be friendly and try to not incriminate yourself while handling this in a neighborly way.

    If you got the visiting officer name, I would call the PD and make an appointment to see him again. You need to explain you are being falsely accused based on your account and flight record as proof.

    That's when you would voice your concern about people being a little scared because they are ignorant. They might see a drone and think it's recording *them*.

    If you think about it, I wouldn't put it past some people out there: some do use drones to record people and things they should not, whether be neighbors, getting in the way of Fire Fighters etc.






    I wonder if people went around shooting and reporting photographers (on foot) when cameras became widely available.
    Wait, they still do... :)
     
    #8 28wins, Jun 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  9. Ridebonfire

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    That was always my plan if I got approached by someone who didn't like the hobby, but it all happened so fast and I didn't realize what was going on until it was too late. The office was actually cool and he said that he has a smaller drone. He said the FAA regulations haven't caught up with local and county laws. In Arizona, disorderly conduct by definition means creating a nuisance with noise (something like that) and that is why I would get a ticket for it.
     
  10. frands1

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    All this makes me think that we (the flyers) do need some regulations so we are covered too.
    I understand people may get sensitive because of constant paranoia about being recorded, etc, but that doesn't mean we have to be incriminated every time someone feels they have the right to do so, to call police and disturb your home
    The fact that somebody knocks your door at 10:30pm and disturb your family is much worse than flying and hovering around neighborhood at 100' far from any being... if you ask me
    Come on, people use smartphones to take pics and record whatever they want these days... pfff
     
  11. njohn80

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    Have you guys ever spotted a drone other than your own flying around your house? I live in a high rise building along a river and park and spotted a drone flying outside my window late at night.

    Even though I own and fly a P4 (P3P at the time), I realized that when you are on the other side, the perspective is completely different..

    I remember just being flooded with anger and emotion.I was so upset that someone would fly a drone so close to my window. I felt that my privacy was being invaded and that the guy was an idiot for flying so close to people and buildings. This happened a few months ago.

    After taking some time to process and think over the incident, I realized that depth perception is really deceiving. Especially when emotions are involved. When I spotted the drone, I felt like the drone's flashing red lights were 10 feet away when in reality, they were probably over a 100 feet away. At that moment in time, I really didn't care what the distance was because such a strong negative emotion was incited.

    For drone operators, the distance above the ground is easy to figure out because it tells us on our phone/tablet. But someone who sees something in the air has no idea. Because of the emotions, objects look closer than they actually are.

    Anyway, I'm just sharing my 2 cents. I went through a similar experience as the guy and can understand what he was feeling. Was he right in calling the police, exaggerating about time and distance, and making threats? Absolutely not. But let's just be aware of other people's perspectives and try not to fly near or above residences.
     
  12. 28wins

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    I wonder how this would be argued in court.

    What would happen if you stood on foot on city property (public road or street) and pointed a camera towards that person's home from 50 feet away. He would not know whether you are actually recording images or video or sound or your GPS position or anything but he sees you pointing a camera in the direction of his home. And perhaps you are sporting a telephoto lens so it looks like you zoom in and "get really close".

    So in that case it won't be illegal per se but it is still suspicious behavior and you'd get reported too.

    With the drone, though it is outfitted with a camera, you may not be recording anything all.
    Perhaps you are just practicing flying it.
    But some people don't like/ want it there. If someone did this to us drone owners, we probably would not like it either.

    It's good you did not hover and revisited a certain spots repeatedly: it will be hard for them to argue you presumably had ill intentions.


    The "noise" is just the way to get you. This is not about noise at all.
     
    #12 28wins, Jun 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
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  13. 28wins

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    +1

    This makes total sense. You don't know the person flying it. The whole thing feels invasive when you are on the receiving end.

    Not to mention, eye witness/ memory is the least favorite if you are having to prove anything. It's so unreliable. What goes on in someone's head? They may be wrong and exaggerate things on purpose while trying to gain sympathy and get the Police to act when reporting or they may not be aware at all that they are doing it, again being driven by emotion.


    Too bad, that person was too angry to speak with you when he drove to you.
    This whole thing could have been avoided.
     
  14. stefan350

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    I'm pretty sure my iPhone takes better pics than the P4.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
    zacksomeone and Ridebonfire like this.
  15. snowghost

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    I fly around my neighborhood to capture sunsets, but keep the bird high to avoid annoying people. One Sunday somebodywith a P3 was flying low (100' or so) over my backyard as well as neighbors. That really pissed me off. So I totally get people freaking out.

    I try and share live feed if somebody happens to walk by but people are going to overreact no matter what.
     
  16. 28wins

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    Some people have shot drones down when in the "air space" above their property and won legal cases when they got sued.
     
  17. Ridebonfire

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    I have looked at my flight data about 100x trying to figure out which house it was. It's not too difficult if I just drive by because I know his car now. I only "truly" flew over four houses, none of them had any type of pause or hover even over the house; in fact one or two of them I flew over in sport mode. The places I did hover (trying to catch my bearing and see where I was) was in the middle of a field, in the middle of the street, etc., so it could have appears as though I was hovering looking at you if you were being paranoid looked up at it.

    What really makes me mad about the whole thing is that all this guy has to do is claim I was flying and that is enough for a cop to come by. The cop isn't going to care about my flight data - of course I would fight in court the ticket with my flight data to prove I didn't fly or anywere near him, but still. I work in a profession that does random background checks and I can't have any criminal offenses, even tickets look bad. I'm not going to let this dude ruin my life and so I will take the higher road and no longer fly anywhere near my house so he can't even be driving down the road and seeing it, but it stinks I have to do that.
     
  18. 28wins

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    @Ridebonfire

    Please don't let the LEO showing up at your door bother you. He has the obligation to investigate and he's doing his job. We have several (retired and active) law enforcement members on here. Perhaps some will chime in.

    I do believe it's smart to let go. Time is precious and you have a lot to lose. Learn, correct and move on the wise would tell us.

    It's hard to believe the LEO or his supervisor would have ignored the evidence if presented to them.

    Thank you for sharing with us.
    Others are reading this thread and it will potentially save them from getting into a similar situation so you did a good deed here.
     
    #18 28wins, Jun 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  19. SGs

    SGs

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    I once got a disorderly conduct for next to nothing and it wasn't a ticket they actually arrested me. Disorderly conduct is so vague you are literally are at the cops discretion. It did teach me a thing or two about keeping my cool in situations like that, but I literally used a curse word and was arrested for it on my front porch.

    There is no value in talking to the cops in this situation in my opinion. I'm not a cop hater, my brother is a sheriff. But coming to your house at 10:30 and waking your kids up. Naw, come back with a warrant and we can talk in the presence of my lawyer, have a great night officer. You have nothing to gain by talking to that cop, and potentially a lot to lose.

    I think all these stories have me thinking to avoid flying near my house all together. My house isn't a great example cause I have no reason to fly there other than to hover over my own property to drain my batteries down. Also to understand the other people's perspective a little bit. I try to stay away from people property and if I feel like I need to fly over it's always at 400' cruising through as fast as possible. I really enjoy lakes and rivers and the Ocean for this reason. Situation really sucks though, hope we can all learn from it.
     
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  20. Geeno

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    Sorry this happened to you. Im sure the guy needs recalibrating how much 50ft is? Especially if you flew at night. People look like ants once you get above like 80 ft. and again, it was at night.