Police Aggressively Pursue “Drones,” Arresting Aerial Photographers

New York State police troopers arrested a man Tuesday for recording aerial video of a hospital and slapped him with a felony charge aimed at preventing and punishing peeping toms. After taking aerial photographs of the Mid Hudson Medical Group building, David Beesmer was arrested and charged with unlawful surveillance in the second degree.

Under [__the law__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/PEN0250.45_250.45.html), Beesmer can only be found guilty if he used his camera to view or record

> “a person dressing or undressing or the sexual or other intimate parts of such person at a place and time when such person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without such person’s knowledge or consent;”
> “or record a person in a bedroom, changing room, fitting room, restroom, toilet, bathroom, washroom, shower or any room assigned to guests or patrons in a motel, hotel or inn, without such person’s knowledge or consent.”
> “or record, under the clothing being worn by such person, the sexual or other intimate parts of such person.”

According to Beesmer, he started recording aerial video outside the hospital after taking his mother to a doctor’s appointment, and did not record anyone inside the building due to its tinted windows. So far, there has been no claim by police that Beesmer was attempting to record bedrooms or patients undressing, [__only that Beesmer was recording the facility__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/medicalcenterdrone.jpg). Unless Beesmer’s footage contains people in bedrooms or otherwise breaks the law, he has not committed unlawful surveillance and state police will have to learn what that statute is actually for.

Beesmer’s incident is just the latest in a rash of police overreaction to aerial photography. Last week, the New York City Police Department arrested Remy Castro and Wilkins Mendoza on felony endangerment charges for flying a DJI Phantom because, they claimed, an “NYPD helicopter pilot had to veer off course to avoid being struck by [their] drone.”

But that was a lie.

Two days later, the truth came out. “We have video proof that we are not following him, he’s following us. He’s endangering our lives and himself by following us,” said Jonathan Castro, one of the pilot’s brothers, according to the [__New York Daily News__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/drone-hits-nypd-helicopter-2-men-arrested-article-1.1858159). “He’s wasting taxpayers money following a little drone. It’s not our fault it’s not illegal.”

The air traffic control recordings, [__obtained by Vice’s Jason Koebler__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/police-recording-confirms-nypd-flew-at-a-drone-never-feared-crash), indicate that the NYPD pilot observed the Phantom near the George Washington bridge and flew at the “drone”  – properly called an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or RC copter – and not the other way around. Castro and Mendoza’s video evidence from the Phantom’s flight may help them defeat the felony charge against them, similar to the case of another recently arrested UAV photographer in Ohio.

In the video above, Kele Stanley launched his RC copter to observe several ambulances. Within four minutes, he found himself under arrest for “disorderly conduct at a crime scene.” Deputy Brian Melchi claimed that Stanley was interfering with an incoming helicopter landing, demanded to know who Stanley was with, and finally arrested Stanley after he challenged Melchi’s threat to enforce a nonexistent law during this exchange:

> Deputy Melchi: “You will go to jail next time”
> Stanley: “I’ll be at all these accidents.”
> Deputy Melchi: “Turn around. [Handcuffs Stanley] It’s called disorderly conduct at a crime scene.”

Thanks to Stanley’s video, the disorderly conduct charge was dismissed, and according to Stanley’s calculations, the incoming helicopter that Deputy Melchi was so concerned with was 13 miles away at the time.

If Beesmer, Castro and Mendoza’s videos are as conclusive as Stanley’s, they too can look forward to a dismissal of the charges. With enough dismissals, police will get the message that aerial photography is not a crime.  Until then, the prosecutors in some of these cases should start pursuing a more accurate charge –  and prosecute the arresting officers who filed a false police report.

*For news tips on aerial photography and drones, contact* [*__Andrew Meyer__*](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/contact/)*, PINAC’s staff writer covering UAV photography, the First Amendment, and more. Follow him on twitter* [*__@theandrewmeyer__*](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/TheAndrewMeyer2)*.*

- Advertisement -

New York State police troopers arrested a man Tuesday for recording aerial video of a hospital and slapped him with a felony charge aimed at preventing and punishing peeping toms. After taking aerial photographs of the Mid Hudson Medical Group building, David Beesmer was arrested and charged with unlawful surveillance in the second degree.

Under [__the law__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/PEN0250.45_250.45.html), Beesmer can only be found guilty if he used his camera to view or record

> “a person dressing or undressing or the sexual or other intimate parts of such person at a place and time when such person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without such person’s knowledge or consent;”
> “or record a person in a bedroom, changing room, fitting room, restroom, toilet, bathroom, washroom, shower or any room assigned to guests or patrons in a motel, hotel or inn, without such person’s knowledge or consent.”
> “or record, under the clothing being worn by such person, the sexual or other intimate parts of such person.”

According to Beesmer, he started recording aerial video outside the hospital after taking his mother to a doctor’s appointment, and did not record anyone inside the building due to its tinted windows. So far, there has been no claim by police that Beesmer was attempting to record bedrooms or patients undressing, [__only that Beesmer was recording the facility__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/medicalcenterdrone.jpg). Unless Beesmer’s footage contains people in bedrooms or otherwise breaks the law, he has not committed unlawful surveillance and state police will have to learn what that statute is actually for.

Beesmer’s incident is just the latest in a rash of police overreaction to aerial photography. Last week, the New York City Police Department arrested Remy Castro and Wilkins Mendoza on felony endangerment charges for flying a DJI Phantom because, they claimed, an “NYPD helicopter pilot had to veer off course to avoid being struck by [their] drone.”

But that was a lie.

Two days later, the truth came out. “We have video proof that we are not following him, he’s following us. He’s endangering our lives and himself by following us,” said Jonathan Castro, one of the pilot’s brothers, according to the [__New York Daily News__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/drone-hits-nypd-helicopter-2-men-arrested-article-1.1858159). “He’s wasting taxpayers money following a little drone. It’s not our fault it’s not illegal.”

The air traffic control recordings, [__obtained by Vice’s Jason Koebler__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/police-recording-confirms-nypd-flew-at-a-drone-never-feared-crash), indicate that the NYPD pilot observed the Phantom near the George Washington bridge and flew at the “drone”  – properly called an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or RC copter – and not the other way around. Castro and Mendoza’s video evidence from the Phantom’s flight may help them defeat the felony charge against them, similar to the case of another recently arrested UAV photographer in Ohio.

In the video above, Kele Stanley launched his RC copter to observe several ambulances. Within four minutes, he found himself under arrest for “disorderly conduct at a crime scene.” Deputy Brian Melchi claimed that Stanley was interfering with an incoming helicopter landing, demanded to know who Stanley was with, and finally arrested Stanley after he challenged Melchi’s threat to enforce a nonexistent law during this exchange:

> Deputy Melchi: “You will go to jail next time”
> Stanley: “I’ll be at all these accidents.”
> Deputy Melchi: “Turn around. [Handcuffs Stanley] It’s called disorderly conduct at a crime scene.”

Thanks to Stanley’s video, the disorderly conduct charge was dismissed, and according to Stanley’s calculations, the incoming helicopter that Deputy Melchi was so concerned with was 13 miles away at the time.

If Beesmer, Castro and Mendoza’s videos are as conclusive as Stanley’s, they too can look forward to a dismissal of the charges. With enough dismissals, police will get the message that aerial photography is not a crime.  Until then, the prosecutors in some of these cases should start pursuing a more accurate charge –  and prosecute the arresting officers who filed a false police report.

*For news tips on aerial photography and drones, contact* [*__Andrew Meyer__*](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/contact/)*, PINAC’s staff writer covering UAV photography, the First Amendment, and more. Follow him on twitter* [*__@theandrewmeyer__*](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/TheAndrewMeyer2)*.*

- Advertisement -

Support our Mission

Help us build a database of bad cops

For almost 15 years, PINAC News has remained active despite continuous efforts by the government and Big Tech to shut us down by either arresting us for lawful activity or by restricting access to our readers under the pretense that we write about “social issues.”

Since we are forbidden from discussing social issues on social media, we have created forums on our site to allow us to fulfill our mission with as little restriction as possible. We welcome our readers to join our forums and support our mission by either donating, volunteering or both.

Our plan is to build a national database of bad cops obtained from public records maintained by local prosecutors. The goal is to teach our readers how to obtain these lists to ensure we cover every city, county and state in the country.

After all, the government has made it clear it will not police the police so the role falls upon us.

It will be our most ambitious project yet but it can only be done with your help.

But if we succeed, we will be able to keep innocent people out of prison.

Please make a donation below or click on side tab to learn more about our mission.

Subscribe to PINAC

Bypass Big Tech censorship.

Leave a Reply

- Advertisement -

Latest articles