Property and privacy rights? Or drone rights?
A Kentucky man shot down an $1,800 drone hovering over his sunbathing daughter and was then arrested and charged with first degree criminal mischief and first-degree wanton endangerment.
“My daughter comes in and says, ‘Dad, there’s a drone out here flying,’ ” William H. Merideth, 47, told a local Fox News affiliate reported Tuesday. The Bullitt County father shot at the drone, which crashed in a field near his yard Sunday night.
The owner of the drone claims he was only trying to take pictures of a friend’s house, the station reported.
“I went and got my shotgun and I said, ‘I’m not going to do anything unless it’s directly over my property,’ ” Mr. Merideth said, noting that the drone briefly disappeared when his daughter waved it off. “Within a minute or so, here it came. It was hovering over top of my property, and I shot it out of the sky. I didn’t shoot across the road, I didn’t shoot across my neighbor’s fences, I shot directly into the air.”
Most people would say, “good for him”. He felt his privacy and property rights were being violated by some possible peeping Tom and he took action to protect both. As he says, he “didn’t shoot across the road, I didn’t shoot across my neighbor’s fences, I shot directly into the air.”
He had a good, sound reason to take action:
“He didn’t just fly over,” he said. “If he had been moving and just kept moving, that would have been one thing — but when he come directly over our heads, and just hovered there, I felt like I had the right.”
“You know, when you’re in your own property, within a six-foot privacy fence, you have the expectation of privacy,” he said. “We don’t know if he was looking at the girls. We don’t know if he was looking for something to steal. To me, it was the same as trespassing.”
Exactly. The unknown, coupled with the concerns plus the fact that the drone was purposely and repeatedly being flown where it had no permission to fly, prompted Merideth to action. And he removed the possible threat.
End of story?
Hardly. The 4 people who were engaged in flying and hovering the drone over his property showed up to confront him. Then the police showed up. Who got arrested? Well the property owner, of course.
As Scott Shackford of Hit & Run points out:
You’d think it would be obvious that it’s not a good idea to pilot an expensive piece of surveillance equipment just casually over other people’s properties, not just out of respect for other people’s privacy, but because you could lose the thing.
You’d think. But instead it is the man who was guarding both is privacy and his property rights who ends up going to jail. Apparently his expectation of privacy and his property rights concerning trespass weren’t enough to save him from catching a ride in the police van.
Tell me again about our “Constitutional rights” to both privacy and property? Apparently drone’s trump them.