Wed, Apr 11, 2012
Man Was Arrested Using Help Of DHS Predator Drone
A self-described anti-government "sovereignist" who was arrested following a 16-hour standoff at his 3,000 acre farm in North Dakota is about to become the central figure in what may become a test case for the use of UAVs by law enforcement.
The man is Rodney Brossart, and the case involved six cows which wandered onto his property last year. Brossart felt he should be able to keep the cows, and he and two family members used high-powered rifles to convince police to leave their property. That's when the standoff began.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the standoff ended when authorities obtained a search warrant, and activated a three-year-old agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to use one of the agency's Predator UAVs to locate the people on the farm in the tiny town of Lakota, ND. The drones were able to find Brossart's exact location and direct the SWAT team to it, where the arrest was made.
Brossart now is challenging the use of the Predator to find him as illegal. He says there are at least two motions before the court fighting the admission of evidence obtained by the aircraft. Douglas Manbeck, the attorney representing the state in the case, says that the UAV was used only after the warrant was secured. "The alleged crimes were already committed long before a drone was even thought of being used," he told the magazine.
An analyst from the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., says that use of the Predator is no different than the use of a helicopter. He said there are two Supreme Court cases which specifically allow authorities to use aircraft in public airspace to gather evidence to make an arrest. (Image CBP Predator at Oshkosh)
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