Public Service

Drone Operator Charged for Disrupting LAPD Helo

By Staff Writer | September 23, 2015

Police

The Los Angeles Police Department has arrested a man for interfering with an Aug. 27 aerial police search. Martin Sheldon, 57, is charged with two counts of obstructing a peace officer in the performance of his duties after his drone caused an LAPD helicopter to break off its orbit while searching for a suspect in an assault-with-a-deadly-weapon incident, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Police officers on the ground were able to track Sheldon down in a nearby parking lot, where he was then arrested. According to City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office, which filed the charges, video retrieved from the drone allegedly showed it approaching the helicopter and its spotlight, as well as units on the ground. The office told R&WI that even after detaining a suspected drone operator, "prosecuting is hard because you have to prove he was using the device." The police department was unable to comment further on the case with regards to Sheldon’s motive, the type of drone used or its proximity to the helicopter.

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