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Transportation Government United States

Drone Pilot Arrested After Flying Over Two Stadiums, Dropping Leaflets (cbslocal.com) 108

"A man with an anti-media agenda was arrested in Oakland after he flew a drone over two different stadiums to drop leaflets" last Sunday, writes Slashdot reader execthis. A local CBS station reports: According to investigators, [55-year-old Tracy] Mapes piloted his drone over Levi's Stadium during the second quarter of the 49ers-Seattle game and released a load of pamphlets. He then quickly landed the drone, loaded it up and drove over to Oakland. He flew a similar mission over the Raiders-Broncos game. Santa Clara Police Lt. Dan Moreno said after Mapes was apprehended he defended the illegal action as a form of free speech.
USA Today reports there's now also an ongoing federal investigation "because the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits the flying of drones within five miles of an airport. Both Levi's Stadium and Oakland Coliseum are within that range."

"The San Francisco Chronicle added that the drone was a relatively ineffective messenger because 'most of the drone-dropped leaflets were carried away by the wind.'"
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Drone Pilot Arrested After Flying Over Two Stadiums, Dropping Leaflets

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 02, 2017 @01:37PM (#55664243)

    Yes you can have free speech but you cannot break laws in expressing that. Are people really this stupid these days?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      That phrase does not mean what you think it does.

      It means that you can't be arrested for talking trash about the government.

      • “It was something about free speech and his belief that television stations are corrupt,” said Santa Clara Police Lt. Dan Moreno.

        Television stations can be corrupt without any government implications.

        Also, I wonder if Lt. Dan Moreno owns any Monero.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Assuming that AC and you are both referring to the First Amendment to the US Constitution (and that you are not being snarky), AC is closer to correct than you.

      • It means that you can't be arrested for talking trash about the government.

        No, it doesn't. It means government can't make any laws that would prevent you from exercising free speech.

        But free speech doesn't mean you get to break other laws while exercising your free speech.

      • That phrase does not mean what you think it does.

        It means that you can't be arrested for talking trash about the government.

        If you're being sarcastic, then dilly dilly!

        Else, no, it doesn't mean what YOU think it does.

        The first amendment has nothing to do with "trash talking the government", egads, man...

        • Hey, asshole. Read this. *emphasis mine)

          CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

          • Hey, asshole. Read this. *emphasis mine)

            CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

            Wow... Hilarious that your rude response proves MY point and opposes your own.

            Let's see if you can follow this. I'll try one more time. More slowly this time... See if you can keep up.

            • -- The First Amendment prohibits the GOVERNMENT from restricting your speech. About ANYTHING.
            • -- (With some well-defined exceptions) it doesn't matter WHAT that speech is about.
            • -- It has nothing to do with the government only restricting speech about or against the government.
            • -- It has nothing to do about trash talking
    • by TimSSG ( 1068536 )

      Yes you can have free speech but you cannot break laws in expressing that. Are people really this stupid these days?

      I think freedom of the press would be more on target; but, you still can be arrested for breaking the law while using the freedom of the press. Tim S.

    • But would he have been arrested for flying the drone if he had not dropped leaflets? It is likely that hundreds of people fly drones within 5 miles of SFO or OAK everyday. How many of them are arrested? Selective enforcement of the law can be a form of oppression.

      • Youâ(TM)re absolutely right. Ideally weâ(TM)d arrest all drone operators and string em up, but until weâ(TM)re able to do that, weâ(TM)ll have to settle for selective enforcement.

      • "Selective enforcement" can be a form of oppression, but when they are "selectively" doing enforcement against the people whose crime attracts the most attention, then it isn't. It just means he was an idiot for brazenly doing something that you have to do quietly to get away with.

      • That's not the question. The question is would he have been arrested had he dropped blank leaflets, or leaflets expressing an opinion opposite to that expressed, or leaflets discussing the moderation system of Slashdot.

        My guess is yes. Dropping leaflets would appear to be problematic for all kinds of reasons, and I suspect many of those reasons overlap with overt prohibitions in codes the FAA enforces.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        But would he have been arrested for flying the drone if he had not dropped leaflets? It is likely that hundreds of people fly drones within 5 miles of SFO or OAK everyday. How many of them are arrested? Selective enforcement of the law can be a form of oppression.

        No, he would be arrested because he flew into a no-fly zone. Stadiums are restricted airspace (from ground to 3000 feet above ground) - you are absolutely not allowed to fly in restricted airspace (except in emergencies). This applies whether we're

        • by sabri ( 584428 )

          Stadiums are restricted airspace (from ground to 3000 feet above ground)

          No they are not. Get your facts straight.

          At this time, there is not a single permanent restriction on flying over any stadium in the U.S.Only Disneyland and Disneyworld have permanent restrictions.

          Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) are enacted by the FAA during events only. And even then, the TFRs are in some cases very conditional. Levi's Stadium for example, was somehow approved directly under the flight path for KSJC. Depending on the wind, arriving or departing traffic will have to overfly the sta

    • > Are people really this stupid these days?

      Have you seen who was elected president?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What did the leaflets say?

    • The leaflets asked people to deposit them in a recycling bin.

    • by Known Nutter ( 988758 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @01:49PM (#55664285)
      Most media outlets aren't reporting the content of the leaflets, probably to avoid promoting this sort of thing, but the initial report I saw indicated something about corrupt media and assault on freedom.

      A rep for the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) told the San Francisco Chronicle the leaflets included, "something about free speech and his belief that television stations are corrupt."

      source [mashable.com]

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Most media outlets aren't reporting the content of the leaflets, probably to avoid promoting this sort of thing

        It might have something to do with the fact that the leaflets accused the media (the ones hiding this part of the story) of launching a coup d'etat against the United States, that the media are complicit in a fear-based propaganda war to enhance the power of the deep state and deprive citizens of their liberties.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Or it might be because they are the deranged rantings of POTUS.

        • It might have something to do with the fact that the leaflets accused the media (the ones hiding this part of the story) of launching a coup d'etat against the United States, that the media are complicit in a fear-based propaganda war to enhance the power of the deep state and deprive citizens of their liberties.

          Could be. Nothing would surprise me anymore.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hal_Porter ( 817932 )

      CBS have declined to explain but a bit of searching turns up this

      https://www.facebook.com/RedXS... [facebook.com]
      https://archive.fo/eoZiN [archive.fo]

      https://www.facebook.com/Tracy... [facebook.com]
      https://archive.fo/IcXKV [archive.fo]

      https://www.facebook.com/notes... [facebook.com]
      https://archive.fo/ywhAk [archive.fo]

      tl;dr - nothing particularly interesting. Archive links because FB will probably pull his account to protect us all from reading his rather empty, but basically harmless rants.

    • On advice of counsel, the leaflets chose to remain silent, but not before they had invoked the 1st, 5th, and 9th amendments
  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @01:47PM (#55664275)

    Charge him with littering.

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      I came here to say this, it's pretty obvious really.

      • Actually littering might get thrown out as speech, in this case the handing out of pamplets overrides this. This is why people who throw newspapers on your lawn can't be charged with littering, and that's your house.

        There could be a danger violation here, but not a mundane littering charge.

        • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

          I'd argue that if you're not giving the leaflet to someone directly then it is littering. Also if it's not being dropped within the vicinity of a persons door / mailbox / front lawn. And 1 leaflet might be ok but not 100.

          In the UK we don't have free speech laws AFAIK and you'd get slapped with a fine for littering pretty fast I expect (I'm not a lawyer). The newspaper on a lawn thing doesn't happen here, it rains too much and you'd risk having someone throwing it straight back at you!

          • It is the same here in the US, the dropping of it on the ground isn't speech, so it doesn't matter what the content of the pamphlet is.

            Freedom of the Press, which is how our free speech is actually worded, prevents the government from measuring the content of the speech of the item dropped on the ground; they're required to solely assess if you abandoned it in public in violation of the littering law. They can't look at it and respond differently based on what it says unless it contains threats, evidence of

            • Freedom of the Press, which is how our free speech is actually worded

              Oh??

              "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

  • FAA still to speak (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @02:04PM (#55664361)

    You're not supposed to fly directly over crowds.

    I always maintain a horizontal offset while trolling crowds of paranoids with my model predator drone. Protip: Put a plant into the crowd to 'spot the drone' or 90% of flights are wasted.

  • TFR (Score:5, Informative)

    by mattwarden ( 699984 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @02:07PM (#55664375)

    Regardless of the proximity to the airport, all stadiums are under a TFR up to 3000 AGL above and around a stadium during NFL games. See https://www.faa.gov/uas/where_... [faa.gov]

    • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @02:32PM (#55664467)

      all stadiums are under a TFR up to 3000 AGL above and around a stadium during NFL games.

      It's been my experience that transferors usually have less than 3000 agility points but I don't see what this has to do with Newfoundland's games. ;)

    • Regardless of the proximity to the airport, all stadiums are under a TFR up to 3000 AGL above and around a stadium during NFL games.

      And that's what's actually relevant here, since you only have an obligation to notify an airport if you're going to fly within five miles. You're still not allowed to ever fly your drone actually over the airport, or usually a small border around it, but it's not five miles. Some airports have a web form you can fill out to provide notification, others expect it in writing, some will take a phone call. This notion that you are prohibited from flying a drone within five miles of an airport is bollocks.

  • Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the first amendment because it exists to ensure that political dissent cannot be silenced. However, this is a good example of another citizen who has been spoiled by the first amendment. While some may call his views as "opinions" the reality is that some people subscribe to factually incorrect narratives. Sadly our own president has been pushing these false narratives which only encourages more extreme behavior. The freedom of speech is not unlimited like some people (e.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Factually incorrect narratives? You mean like ABC News did just today? [pjmedia.com] The Dow plunged 350 points after the false report.

      It's pretty hard to defend anyone for attacking the media when they do such a good job at either lying or being totally incompetent at their job. Remember how they showed why they're so mistrusted when they lied about Trump and the koi pond? [thehill.com]

  • by WrongMonkey ( 1027334 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @02:31PM (#55664463)
    Fighting the good fight, out in the real world, instead of hiding behind a monitor. Sure, he broke the law, but that comes with the territory. Even in a peaceful revolution.
  • My biggest concern with drone is that they will be used for anonymous crimes. Hopefully this story is an indication that we will be able to track down the owners.

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @02:50PM (#55664549) Homepage

    I can't help but notice that the content of the leaflets is not spoken of. Only "anti-media", which we all know is Wrongthink[tm]. We all should believe the media, they wouldn't lie or shelter sex offenders. Or have dead people show up in their offices like MSNBC's Joe Scarborough. A fucking female intern died in his office and he got off scot-free.

    No, the story is about how he did wrong. This kind of crap is why nobody trusts the mainstream media any more. If they say the sky is blue you go outside and check.

    • OK, defender of truth and fighter of Wrongthing(TM):

      http://www.politifact.com/trut... [politifact.com]

      My goodness, with a neckbeard that thick I'm surprised you haven't been kidnapped and sold to Bukharan markhor smugglers.

      • Yaknow, a year ago I would have said you were crazy if you had told me that George Takei and Kevin Spacey were sex offenders. But we today know that's true. It's not beyond doubt that Scarborogh engaged in foul play and a woman died. We KNOW these people abuse the shit out of women. This is a fact.
        • George Takei is accused of: Being friends with people at bars ; taking one of those friends home intending sex after that person had a breakup. The only problem is that the other person says he was removing that person's pants when that person awoke from having briefly passed out.

          That is not a serious accusation of misconduct. They were both drunk, and it is pretty normal in that situation for both people to want sex. People do not perceive the passage of time when they're passed out; there is no way to kno

          • We don't judge people by the standards that existed at the time, we judge people by today's standards. Otherwise rapists like Roman Polanski and Bill Clinton would get off scot free today. Takei is a rapist, end of story. I'm shocked to see people defending a rapist, maybe there's something in your past we don't know about?
    • Alledgedy, the leaflet reads "Don't believe everything you read."
      Allegedly.

  • by linuxwrangler ( 582055 ) on Saturday December 02, 2017 @09:57PM (#55666133)

    Almost every report I've read about this has a comment that it is illegal to fly within 5 miles of an airport which is simply untrue. You can fly within 5 miles of any airport. If the airport is not in Class B airspace then you are required to *notify* the operator and, if there is a control tower, the tower of your operational plans. Within Class B airspace, which does not cover either stadium as they are not within 5 miles of San Francisco International, you need permission and must coordinate with the controllers.

    But it *is* illegal to fly within 3 miles of a NFL stadium from one hour before to one hour after a scheduled game. Similar restrictions apply to certain other sporting events like NASCAR and NCAA division one football.

    And the miles are *nautical* miles which are roughly 15% greater than statute miles. The reporters never make that distinction, either.

    https://www.faa.gov/uas/where_... [faa.gov]

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