(credit: John Jackson)
The City of Los Angeles has brought criminal charges against a man accused of flying a drone near a police helicopter. According to a Tuesday statement from the city attorney, the suspect, Martin Sheldon, was charged with “two counts of obstructing a peace officer in the lawful performance of his duties.” If convicted, he could face up to one year in jail.
On August 27, Sheldon was found operating the drone from a parking lot along Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, while the helicopter was orbiting above a crime scene below. Officers on the ground were involved in a search for a suspect with a deadly weapon, and because the drone flew too close to the helicopter, it had to “make an evasive move” and “break off its search for the suspect on the ground.”
“Using a drone to interfere with a police investigation places our officers and the public at serious risk,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said in the statement. “My office will hold those who recklessly operate these devices accountable for their actions.”