America’s First Drone-Assisted Arrest Upheld in Court

First, our government used them on suspected terrorists half-way around the globe. Then, they used them on American citizens half-way around the globe. Now, they’re using them on Americans right here on U.S. soil, and a North Dakota judge sees no reason to be alarmed. Just last year, for the first time in America, a predator drone was used to assist police in the arrest of farmer Rodney Brossart and his family in the small town of Lakota, North Dakota.

Lakota is a 1-square-mile town of about 780 people and not big enough to contain Mr. Brossart’s 3,000-acre farm of corn and soybeans. A neighbor’s six cows wandered onto his property, and Brossart refused to return them based on an interpretation of an “open range law” until the neighbor paid him for the feed which the cows consumed.

When police first showed up on the scene, they tasered and arrested Mr. Brossart after he refused to surrender the cows. His wife was also arrested for supposedly “misleading” the police as to where the “illegal weapons” were. Police arrived again the following day and were chased away by Brossart’s armed, adult children.

That’s when police reciprocated with a warrant, a SWAT team, a bomb squad and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, courtesy of Homeland Security. The spy drone was able to give the County Sheriff aerial footage of the property on his laptop and tell if any of the residents were armed. After a total of 16 hours of standoff, the SWAT team raided the house and arrested Brossart’s sons on “terrorizing” and other charges.

A SWAT team, a bomb squad, a drone and a tasering. All this over six cows? Apparently, there’s more to the story than just some meandering bovines, but the SWAT team chief didn’t let on:  “I can’t really get into what the dispute was over,” Macki said. “What I can tell you is the SWAT team wasn’t there over a property dispute. The SWAT team was called out to render assistance in reference to armed subjects. … And using the unmanned aerial vehicle seemed appropriate in this instance.” Further, he stated that they only needed the drone to make sure that the residents were unarmed and that they didn’t leave the property.

However, Brossart’s attorney Bruce Quick didn’t buy it. He requested that the charges be dropped because he said that the use of the drone was in violation of the 4th amendment. He also cited “outrageous governmental conduct, unlawful surveillance, illegal seizures and searches, unconstitutional application of North Dakota law, vindictive prosecution, and other statutory and constitutional injury” as justification for wanting the charges dropped. The North Dakota judge refused Quick’s request just a few days ago, but instead stated that “there was no improper use of an unmanned aerial vehicle” and that it “appears to have had no bearing on these charges being contested here.”

Thankfully, the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has put the pieces together for us. The reason for all the drama is that Brossart is a known “sovereign citizen.” He’s a “right wing extremist” who owns guns. A potential “domestic terrorist.” The County Sheriff had this to say to the SPLC:  “It’s not common for people to brandish weapons against law enforcement, and to have them all be family members is unique. [It tells me] they’re up to something, they’re planning something, they have some different beliefs…. We’re meeting with a team of experts to find out the best possible way to resolve this.” Yeah, experts from the Department of Homeland Security, who tell law enforcement that everybody’s a domestic terrorist.

This case is ongoing, and the outcome remains to be seen, but for now, this judge has upheld the use of a predator drone in the arrest of an American citizen on our homeland. Considering the popularity of drones these days with law enforcement especially, this court case may set a dangerous precedent. What’s the next drone case going to be about? Maybe next time they will have killed someone with a drone because that person was a known gun owner. But what if they killed the wrong person? What if they killed bystanders as well? I think they call that “collateral damage.”

Our own government is in serious need of surveillance. After all, who is checking on them to make sure they’re not terrorists? Who’s watching the watchmen?