North Dakota Man Sentenced to Jail In Controversial Drone-Arrest Case

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The first American man arrested with the help of a Predator drone has also become the first man who will go to jail because of it.

Tuesday, Rodney Brossart, a North Dakotan cattle rancher, was sentenced to three years in prison, with all but six months suspended, for terrorizing police officers who were trying to arrest him at his property in 2011. The strange case garnered national attention because it was the first time a law enforcement agency had used an unmanned aerial vehicle to assist in carrying out an arrest.

Brossart’s trouble began in 2011, when six cows wandered onto his property. After Brossart refused to return the cows to their owner, the Grand Forks, N.D., SWAT team was called in to arrest the man. What followed was a 16-hour, armed standoff that eventually ended when the SWAT team called in a Predator drone on loan from the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Patrol. The drone was able to locate Brossart and his three armed sons on the property and let police know it was safe it make to make an arrest. Brossart was allegedly tased during the arrest.

At the time of his arrest, Brossart told U.S. News that he felt the use of the drone was illegal, and that he was “not laying over here playing dead” on his defense. His attorney, Bruce Quick, said that the use of the drone and the tasing constituted “guerrilla-like police tactics” and that the drone was “dispatched without judicial approval or a warrant.”



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