Saturday, July 11, 2015

Detained And Questioned By The Orange County Sheriff For Holding A Drone

When In Public There Is No Privacy

As some of you may already be aware, one of my many hobbies that I enjoy is photography and videography.  This includes going out on a nice day and photograph and video people, places and things that I feel others may take interest in.  The stock footage I gather also serves as my own pictures that I use in blog posts such as this one.  It boils down to, I took the photo, it is my property, and I own all rights to them.

TV Show COPS Still Strong After 25 Years

It should come as no surprise that people in general love police shows.  Turn on the television and you can usually find a cop drama any time of day.  There is just something intriguing about watching police shows that keeps the public interested year after year.  It is due to that public interest that I prefer to film police and other public employees in the performance of their jobs and sometimes that seems to get on their nerves.  It also serves as a reminder that public employees should always be on their best behavior or they will be held accountable for their actions.

I Do Not Answer Questions

In my own life I have decided that anytime I come into contact with someone that has the power and authority to take away my free movement and put me in a cage against my will, I am not going to help them do it.  I am not talking about being rude and ignoring them as I find that less entertaining, but I chose what I will say and when.  I do interact with officers from time to time and I just try to keep in mind that I am responsible for what I say and I tend to ask more questions than I answer.  The courts have also stated that silence at times can be seen as guilt if you do not assert your right to be silent. 

My Drive to El Toro

On a recent outing I had decided to go to the relatively new substation in El Toro  to get some pictures and video of the building and surrounding area.  I consider these outings First Amendment Tests as everyone not only has the right to take pictures in public, but specifically public officials in the performance of their jobs too. There are times when people do not want to be photographed and I like to remind them that in today's world you can not go very far without a camera getting you on film somewhere.

I Was Detained

Up to this trip my filming had never put me in a position of being detained and why would it?  After all the courts have ruled on this issue and I always try to keep to sidewalks and not bother anyone.  Everyone knows that taking pictures out in public of the police is not against the law.  Same with owning a remote controlled plane or helicopter unless a city has a specific ordinance about them.  I soon found out that a police officer's curiosity can sometimes outweigh reason.


During my detainment without cause, I find it odd that on video the detaining officer states that the only reason he has detained me is that a caller stated I was flying my quad over the substation and not because I was filming.  Now that I have received the phone call that sent him out from my records request, the caller specifically states send some cars we have a guy filming us.   I also found out that the original statement was "HE HAS A DRONE"  and not "he is flying a drone".  It was not until the dispatcher heard that I had a drone in my possession that the dispatcher put the words flying into the callers mouth.  All of this is stupid to me due to the fact that I can legally fly my quad anywhere except within a 5 mile radius of an airport without notifying the airport first.  The FAA does not even have any other regulations other than not to exceed a certain height where my quad may get in the way of air traffic and cause harm.

So to sum things up, I was detained or put into soft arrest without reasonable suspicion of a crime to back it up,  I was able to get some great footage of the Orange County Sheriffs in action.  Below is the edited videos, if you like them subscribe to my You Tube channel for all my future encounters with public employees.