Man Sues Police Department After Officers Halt UAV Use

The man who was operating an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) above a fatal car crash in Hartford, Conn., has filed a lawsuit against the Hartford police department and two of its officers, alleging that his civil rights were violated when the officers told him to stop flying the aircraft, detained him and then ordered him to leave the area.

Pedro Rivera, an employee of a local television station, contends that he was standing beyond the crime scene and flying the UAV at 150 feet, according to an article by NBC Connecticut. In addition, Rivera claims that he told officers he was not working, although he did admit he occasionally forwards the video feed from the UAV to the television station.

As such, Rivera says that the officers infringed upon his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. The lawsuit ‘argues that Rivera did not violate any state or federal law and that he was not operating a 'civil aircraft.'’

Furthermore, Rivera alleges that one of the officers contacted his employer and requested that Rivera be disciplined for interfering with the police investigation, resulting in a weeklong suspension for Rivera.

He is seeking ‘compensatory damages, punitive damages [and] declaratory relief that operation of a [UAV] in this manner does not violate any federal, local or state law or regulation.’

The Hartford police department has not offered any comment on the litigation, and the Federal Aviation Administration has been investigating the incident.

Read the full NBC Connecticut article here.


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