Bruce Quick, attorney for the first American arrested using an unmanned drone says his client was subject to "guerrilla-like police tactics."
Quick tells U.S. News that Lakota, N.D., resident Rodney Brossart should not have been arrested and that authorities had no legal right to use the drone to aid in his capture.
"The whole thing is full of constitutional violations," Quick told U.S. News. "The drone use is a secondary concern."
Brossart was in a dispute with authorities over the ownership of six cows that had meandered onto his land. The Grand Forks SWAT team borrowed a Predator drone from the Department of Homeland security to make sure it was safe to arrest Brossart, authorities told the paper.
Douglas Manbeck, who is representing the state of North Dakota, told UPI that the SWAT team used the drone only after warrants were issued.
"I know it's a touchy subject for anyone to feel that drones are in the air watching them, but I don't think there was any misuse in this case," Manbeck told UPI.
Unmanned drones have been used for years by the US Military in foreign countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. They're also used for surveillance on the border between Mexico and the US. But Americans can expect drones to pop up soon in several American cities.
With Congress requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to simplify and expedite drone applications from U.S. police departments by May 15, industry and watchdog groups agree: It won’t be long before cops and first responders put them into action.
Salon also notes that the drones can be easily armed with tear gas canisters or tasers "for remote crowd control."
And for those who think drones are just a more high-tech version of police helicopters, Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald, who has extensively covered the dangers of domestic and foreign use of drones, says think again:
The fact is that drones vest vast new powers that police helicopters and existing weapons do not vest: and that’s true not just for weaponization but for surveillance. Drones enable a Surveillance State unlike anything we’ve seen. Because small drones are so much cheaper than police helicopters, many more of them can be deployed at once, ensuring far greater surveillance over a much larger area. Their small size and stealth capability means they can hover without any detection, and they can remain in the air for far longer than police helicopters.