“That’s what you get you little pervert!”
What started out as an innocent day of piloting a remotely controlled aircraft near a public beach (now called a drone in common parlance) turned into what appears to be a social justice crusade when 23 year old and soon to be attacker Andrea Mears arrived on the scene. Apparently believing that the young, bespectacled drone owner was using his drone to perv on beach goers she first called the police then attacked him screaming that he was a pervert.
To be clear, the young man who goes under the username ‘Hogwit’, is not a pervert. He just likes flying his drone over beautiful landscapes getting incredible video. When the police finally did show up she claimed he was the one who assaulted her. It was only after seeing the video he’d taken on his iPhone that they arrested Mears instead. She’s since been charged with 3rd degree assault (a misdemeanor) and released. Check out his first hand account below but, from what he says, had he not had the video he very likely would have been the one arrested and charged.
“You wanna take pictures? Yeah. You’re gonna see how it feels when the police come.”
I went to a nearby beach that is a whopping 2 miles long, set up, talked to some people that were curious what my “thing” was, demonstrated the loiter feature (pulling the quad to one direction or another), demonstrated rtl (flying it away then having it return), and make a lot of people think the quad was just awesome. I never went below 50 feet save for take off/landing, then after the end of my last flight, some crazy lady came over and started taking pictures of me…and dialed 911 for the 3rd time in 15 minutes…she said something to the effect of, “There’s a guy here taking pictures at the beach with a helicopter plane.” (I distinctly remember her saying, “with a helicopter plane,” because that just sounds hilarious.) They basically said that they’d send someone when one gets free during each of the 3 calls she made, she decided they didn’t care enough about someone obeying the law so when no one was around she assaulted me and she decided to stop when she got a phone call. I called the police to report the assault, and boy was the response big…10 or more vehicles arrived (cops, DEEP, and an ambulance)…They first listened to her story of lies (she claimed I was taking close ups of people in bikinis, and that she had asked me to stop flying before calling the police, and that I was the one that assaulted her, and and and). The police approached me very aggressively, believing her full story, and before anything else was said I brought up something that she missed… The fact that the cell phone in my hand has a camera…that was recording. I had video evidence that she went nuts completely unprovoked, and was the one that assaulted me. She was then charged with assault, and breach of peace and I gave the cops a copy of the video for their prosecution. I then also showed them my last flight where you can make out her colorful shirt getting up from the beach then following it until it lands which proved that she lied when claiming that she asked me to stop flying before calling the police.
At the end of it all, one of the officers said to me basically, “Flying that thing the way you were is fine, you’re not in any trouble. You can come back and fly, but just be aware that some people can be alarmed.”
Just a funny thing to add, last time I was there, a British guy had come up to me and said he thought it was a giant mosquito near him. He said that he first saw snake on a hike here in the States as they don’t have them in the UK, and thought giant mosquitoes were another animal they didn’t have.