The Conversation

Drone Surveillance Footage Sends Man to Jail

A North Dakota farmer was sentenced to three years in prison after he was located by a border surveillance drone. Rodney Brossart was sentenced to three years in jail after police were able to apprehend him for failing to return three cows that had wandered onto his property.  Three. Cows. On. His. Property. And it wasn't just the drone that was after him. 

An armed standoff between Brossart, his three sons and a SWAT team then ensued on Brossart’s property, which only ended after father and sons were located by a border-surveillance Predator borrowed from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).

You are probably asking, "Is it legal for a drone to surveil a suspect without a warrant?" Brossart's attorney tried to get the case dismissed claiming this same point, but the judge rejected the motion.  

These scenarios, of drone surveillance being used on private American citizens, are become increasingly common.  "Records obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group, found that CBP Predator drones flew 700 missions between 2010 and 2012 for other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and local police departments."

Fortunately, Farmer Brossart had all  but six months of his sentence suspended for his crime of harboring lost cows. 


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