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St. Paul, MN Cop Lies About City Park Ordinances

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by Qwadjok, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. Qwadjok

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    I week ago, I was filming with my P2+ at a city park 5k run on Harriet Island. The promoters knew I was filming and I was operating in a very safe and professional manner. No Risky shots.

    When I approached the starting line flying some 80 feet out front from any runners and 80 feet up, a female cop came over to me and politely said "you can't fly drones in city parks". "I politely said, this is not a drone. It is a radio controlled model aircraft. Drones are government or military type weaponized high altitude spy planes that are piloted by government or military personnel from thousands of miles away and often carry air to air missile's."

    She said "city ordinances do not allow you to fly these here." I was very polite and asked, "what ordinance she was referring to since I had checked already and seen nothing to what she claimed." She could not even tell me what the ordinance was and instead, referred me to the event permit the promoters carried. I said, "hum... the permit applications for the city I have looked at say nothing about flying RC model aircraft." Get this. I asked the people running the event and they too were just as confused.

    She still said, "you have to bring it down and then said, one of these crashed into a crowd of people once and it was in the news." Hum.... I told her "that's news to me, I had not heard that and I am a news hound." I said, "I fly very responsibly and take no risks."

    Now get this. She then said, "you're one of the few then." WOW. I know dozens of DJI owners and not one takes any chances or fly's their expensive RC model aircraft in a risky or dangerous fashion. She continued by saying, "well you are one of the few but you still need to bring it down."

    Moral here is. If you are flying in any parks, carry a copy of the park ordinances with you so when some phone baloney cop tries blowing smoke up your backside, you can pull out the ordinance, or event permit application rules and guidelines and ask them where it says that.

    I have pasted a link to the permit application for the City of St. Paul, MN here so you could see it says nothing about flying (Drones) or RC model aircraft. It does how ever, discuss balloons in the parks and how they can harm wildlife.

    2014 PARK PERMIT RULES AND REGULATIONS
    http://www.stpaul.gov/DocumentCenter/View/68007

    Make sure if you fly in any city limits or parks you get copies of all park rules, event permits and ordinances. If it does not mention RC model aircraft, then they are making false claims and should be held accountable for lying.

    What do you all think?

    QJ

    in Minnesota
     
  2. CRankin

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    Personally, I think I would have challenged her further. That's why I generally tend to have an app on my phone at the ready to record stuff like this when getting into conversations with the police or anyone of authority. I have no issue pulling out the phone, starting the app, and clicking record right at the start of a conversation. (If asked what I'm doing, I politely tell them that I'm lawfully recording the conversation for their safety and mine - the same reason that most police departments make recordings of their interactions these days.)

    I'd have gotten her name and badge number (assuming she would have cooperated with that), and would have inquired what the penalty would be for declining her request and continuing with the lawful activity in the park. If it would just be a ticket, I'd tell her to go ahead and write it up as I continued to fly. After giving it to me, I'd smile and tell her "See you in court". (There's a 50/50 chance at least that she wouldn't even bother to show up.) And then I'd take it to court. I'd push that the city didn't have any ordinance against this. I'd also try to push a First Amendment violation angle of the officer's actions prohibiting lawful freedom of assembly and freedom of expression (though not so sure that would apply here - but hey, it's worth a chance).

    But that's just me... I sometimes tend to enjoy putting people who think they have "authority" into their place. :) ;)
     
  3. varmint

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    The problem is that when confronted with a request for an ordinance or a specific park rule, or anything tangible for that matter, they can't provide anything, and invariably come back at you with "it's a public safety issue." This is their usual blanket response to which you have no recourse. They're making an on the spot "assessment" that what you're doing is unsafe in their opinion. They become the judge right then and there, and it's pure bullshit, but there's nothing you can do (that I know if) to mitigate that approach.

    There's literally no people around, and if there were you wouldn't be flying over them. There' little to no noise more than 250 feet away, yet it's a public safety issue. How do you defend against what's clearly a bogus claim? By saying "no, it isn't?" They pretty much have you by the balls and apparently don't need anything more than their "own assessment" that it's endangering people.

    Seriously, what do you do? Do we have to go to City Hall to get a permit now? I'm ALL for safety first, which is the reason I always try to fly at parks instead of out of my back yard (or over ******* football stadiums), but what's the point of backing people into a wall and then telling them they can't lean on the wall? There needs to be some serious legislation incoming and they either need to back off, or set some definitive use rules that INCLUDE places you can actually fly without being arrested or having your hobby confiscated.
     
  4. Mal_PV2_Ireland

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    Haha good luck with that, is it really worth getting arrested for? If they deem you to be acting recklessly even if you feel you arent I'm sorry but you'll lose 9 times out of 10 if you come up against a stubborn cop. In fairness multirotors have fallen into crowds of people a few times and to be honest they shouldnt be used around crowds in my opinion. When legislation comes into force in the USA im sure the rules will be similar to many countries. In Ireland and the UK for sure you are not allowed to fly within 150m of a group of people and not within 50m of single people not under the pilots command. I'm sure its the same for many other countries. I'm afraid this is something you will have to get used to for when regulations come into force there in the near future.
     
  5. WessexWyvern

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    Just to balance out the two sides of the argument...

    You say she lied to you - well you started it, of course a Phantom is a drone, just because it doesn't carry missiles, UAVS, SUAs, drones, quadcopters, the words are universally interchangeable for most people.

    In the UK this just wouldn't be allowed and rightly so. (Re UAVS with cameras): You aren't allowed to fly over or within a crowd of more than 1000 people, over or within 150m of a congested area (any area that is substantially used for residential, industrial or commercial purposes) or within 50m of persons vehicles vessel or structures (except when taking off or landing).

    Spectators at such a gathering must have the opportunity to opt out of (SUA UAV) flight operations (ie being filmed) but not have restrictions placed upon the regards taking part in watching the event (ie not have to try and avoid you).

    This is for privacy as much as safety.

    I'll give you a couple of scenarios to make the point;

    1) would you want some sweaty bloke in a dirty rain coat turning up at your child's sporting event filming them? (I'm not suggesting you are a sweaty bloke in a dirty rain coat - it's a euphemism).

    2) What if 50 people turned up with their drones to film over a large event, particularly one where the action is concentrated into small areas - should they all be allowed to film? Would that be safe?

    Maybe the cop was not specifically enforcing the law but acting within the spirit of the law by acting to protect public safety - you may have been the only drone operator that day but by letting you film she could be setting a precedent in the minds of others for a future event when multiple drone operators might turn up to an event and argue that they should all be allowed to fly over an event because they saw that you were allowed to fly over a similar event on a previous day. You could argue that this is different but not everyone is a reasonable as you.
     
  6. Dirty Bird

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    Privacy? In the UK? With more cameras on duty than anywhere on Earth (last I checked at least)? What about the government blokes recording your every move? Should we ban cameras at public stadium events, where all those cameras are snapping up lots of obscure, indiscernible faces with each flash? With government listening in on your calls, watching your texts, emails, and web browsing history, tracking your location, and monitoring your financial transactions, any statement about them protecting your privacy is a total joke...
     
  7. WessexWyvern

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    Hey, I don't like state endorsed monitoring any more than you, George Orwell's 1984 wasn't supposed to be a handbook and of course the similarities don't end there with the (former) UK (in the book) being a just a state of the larger superstate Oceania - or Europe as people now know it!!! Something your beloved Obama is all in favour of. Is there any wonder Putin is clawing back former Soviet States.
    However I digress, The CAA regulations may not be consistent with the law but I do believe that they have merit and your argument does not address concerns that are raised in either of the two scenarios.

    WTR banning cameras in stadiums, the genie was let out of that bottles many years ago although you could argue that if you go to a stadium you should expect to have your picture taken for that very reason - if you go to a park, 'not so much'. CAA regulations are deliberately broad-sweeping in an attempt to protect the public and to keep them simple and unambiguous (or as unambiguous as possible) as the wide availability of camera carrying drones opens up the possibilities to invade privacy on a scale that was previously unimaginable.
     
  8. Dirty Bird

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    Nothing beloved to me about that Marxist prick Obama. Our own NSA is totally out of control with their snooping. I love how they tell us all this spying on average citizens is to "protect us." Works great...witness the Boston Marathon bombers...who posted lots of stuff on Facebook before the attack. Actually, the Tsarius (sp?) brothers had so many red flags one wonders how they could have missed them! No, the spying isn't to protect the citizens...its to protect the government FROM the citizens. Now if we can just get the masses of oblivious sheeple to wake up...
     
  9. KG4MXV

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    The only problem with pushing the issue to the point of getting a ticket or citation and going to court would possibly prompt a bureaucrat to change the ordnance to ban the use of multi-rotor craft in that area.

    I really think it is better to comply and let that be that.
     
  10. Qwadjok

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    There's no way I just need to get used to it. If a cop quotes a specific ordinance, they better be able to produce the ordinance. Wearing a badge does not give a cop the right to lie about an ordinance, either. If I lied to the cop, I'd be held accountable for it. We pay their taxes so they need to be held accountable for lying as well. I never fly recklessly. Read my first posting. I always get permission from the event organizer also. I have Googled multirotors crashing into people in Minnesota and have yet to see an article as this cop claimed.
     
  11. Qwadjok

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    You are in the UK. Your laws do not apply here and vise versa.
     
  12. CRankin

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    I wonder what would've happened if you'd just landed, packed up, gone to a coffee shop for a drink, and returned 45 minutes later to resume your activities...

    I don't recall if I mentioned it earlier, but this is a perfect example of why people need to carry cameras on their own person and film the police in any and every interaction they have with the public. It's far from the first time that a cop lied, and will be far from the last. It's disappointing that in many circumstances those who are entrusted with the authority to "protect" us also appear to be corrupt or at least willing to lie just to push their authority and get their own way. And they wonder why people like me pull out the smartphone and click on the video record app from the first moment the discussion begins, only replying "Am I free to go?" to most of their questions.

    To many non-US friends on this forum, my position and distrust of police must sound awfully weird, and is probably a bit confusing. After all, why would you distrust people who have passed background checks, had training, sworn an oath, etc.? It has a lot to do with this notion of rights in the US - and I'm one of the people over here who takes them very seriously. Many others may be OK with complying when the police tell them they can't fly in a public park. I'm not, unless and until a specific ordinance or law can be cited that supports the request.

    A blanket "public safety" response isn't good enough. We all risk our safety to some degree when we leave the house each day - and unless or until some credible evidence can be provided that *my* UAV and *my* specific actions are degrading public safety beyond a specific permissible threshold, the argument simply doesn't hold water. I'll take the citation, and go to court to fight it rather than back down and surrender a portion of my right to use the park for the moment. I'll remind the officer that according to the FAA, they don't technically have the authority to police the skies. And I'll continue to ask them to cite the specific ordinance and/or safety concerns that need addressed at that moment. If they can't articulate them, I want that to be a part of the record. At least then the court can see how ridiculously some of their officers behave.

    I'm probably going to have to test the above theories sooner or later this summer. I'm planning to spend a day at Great Falls Park at some point for photos, and anticipate taking my P2V+ as well as a couple cameras along. I'm guessing that I'll have to put up with a ranger whining and spewing nonsense about safety issues when I put the Phantom up in the air over the river and start taking photos. We'll see. (I'm planning to go during the week, to minimize the number of people around, with the hopes of having some one-on-one time to educate the ranger and hopefully override the indoctrination they've undoubtedly received.)
     
  13. WessexWyvern

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    You'd be surprised. With a highly politicised police force that recently tried to bring down a centre right government, trust in the police in the UK is at an all time low.
     
  14. Jam3s

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    I show Harriet Island as a "National Park" as Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and thus a federal No Fly Zone. I found that trying to see if you can fly in Ramsey County / Regional Parks... and that is a NFZ as well :(
     
  15. RoyVa

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    Sorry, but flying anywhere close to a race with a cloud of people is a safety issue. Get a video camera and get ahead of the crowd out a building window and film away. The instant your battery screws up or you clip a wire and end up in the crowd your in the news. Come on guys common sense here. Even though you are a head of the crowd and out front and you don't think it's a problem. I guess you've never crashed or made a mistake I see videos all the time where seasoned pilots accidently clip a branch or wire or edge of a building and down they come. Myself included. At 300-400 ft out its really hard to judge debt perception with these quads. Be realistic and be safe.
     
  16. MapMaker53

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    Everything is safe, until something unexpected happens. The police have a duty to stop anything they PERCEIVE as being dangerous to the public. They don't need an ordinance. There is no ordinance against me running down Main Street on a non-crowded day carefully swinging around a chainsaw, but I bet the police have the right to stop me from doing it in the name of public safety. It's pretty naive to think you could just get a ticket if refusing to stop and then just continue operating the drone. You would immediately be arrested. You can thank the idiots in the news for ruining your ability to fly at many locations. We all saw it coming and warned about it. Get used to it or find a different hobby.
     
    #16 MapMaker53, Oct 27, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
  17. RoyVa

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    Model aircraft operations are for hobby or recreational purposes only.

    The FAA has partnered with several industry associations to promote Know Before You Fly, a campaign to educate the public about using unmanned aircraft safely and responsibly. Individuals flying for hobby or recreation are strongly encouraged to follow safety guidelines, which include:

    • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
    • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
    • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
    • Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
    • Don't fly near people or stadiums
    • Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
    • Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
    The statutory parameters of a model aircraft operation are outlined in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012) (PDF). Individuals who fly within the scope of these parameters do not require permission to operate their UAS; any flight outside these parameters (including any non-hobby, non-recreational operation) requires FAA authorization. For example, using a UAS to take photos for your personal use is recreational; using the same device to take photographs or videos for compensation or sale to another individual would be considered a non-recreational operation.

    I guess the "Don't fly near people or Statiums" doesn't apply near the crowd of runners... Cop is right. You'll have to back down on this one...Look at the last statement too... Could be fined for endangering people.... It's called perception.
     
    SightFlight likes this.