Drone seized by police at Los Angeles park

Los Angeles has the following law for parks: "No person shall land, release, take off or fly any balloon, except children toy balloons not inflated with any flammable material, helicopter, parakite, hang glider, aircraft or powered models thereof, except in areas specifically set aside therefor." http://www.laparks.org/venice/pdf/lamc63.pdf A compliant by the US Navy led to the seizure of a drone and citation under this law. It's important to note this operator attracted attention after he flew over a police parking lot and city attorneys advised police no laws were broken. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-civilian-drone-hol...

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Comment by Gary McCray on August 7, 2014 at 4:51pm

Your first link doesn't work because of the included space and "A" after the ".pdf".

After reviewing the regulations, it does not appear that anywhere authority is granted to the police for either enforcement of park regulations or the seizure of property even based on breaking park regulations.

Regardless, flying over a police station is asking for trouble.

Comment by R. D. Starwalt on August 7, 2014 at 5:45pm

This type of restrictive law/statute reminds me of restrictive covenants established in subdivisions that prohibit antenna towers or external antennas. Ham radio operators have struggled with these 'laws' even though the Amateur Radio Service is protected by Federal law via the FCC.

What's a ham going to do? Not buy a house in such a community/neighborhood.

What's an RC hobbyist going to do? Not fly in places where such things are prohibited.

How's an RC hobbyist going to know before he/she flies somewhere?

Sounds like a great project for database integration of 'do not fly' areas into set up software.

Oh wait, haven't we discussed this somewhere else??


Comment by Timothy Clemans on August 7, 2014 at 7:13pm

Gary the parking lot incident is separate. The Navy called police because they don't want drones flying over their ships. 

Comment by Tom Mahood on August 7, 2014 at 7:40pm

Gary, the park regulations are part of the Los Angeles City ordinances which the Los Angeles PD is authorized to enforce. Don't know about the property confiscation rights though.

Comment by Timothy Clemans on August 7, 2014 at 7:42pm

Tom, This incident was handled by Port of Los Angeles Police http://www.portoflosangeles.org/security/port_police.asp 

Comment by A Lurker on August 7, 2014 at 10:09pm

Okay... Let's see.

USN ship in the background, probably a New Orleans class. Check.
Secured area (port) in the background. Check.
Security conscious people, including folks with guns who use terms like "FPCON Bravo Plus" and "Ensign Remington to the Quarterdeck," kindly calling local police instead of throwing operator to ground with condition zero weapons drawn. Check.
What look to be "No Photography Permitted" signs in the background of the video. Check.
Bad area for anyone to even consider flying. Check.

Individual who should have known better posting a whine-cam video to Youtube. Check.

Person who should have known better losing their DJI Phantom. Check.
Justifiable seizure because of stupid behavior? Definitely.

Comment by Timothy Clemans on August 7, 2014 at 10:11pm

A Lurker, awesome response :) not sure about the "No photography permitted" signs. My understanding is photography is permitted on the boat but not at the security sign. 

Comment by Tom Mahood on August 7, 2014 at 10:20pm

Correct, my mistake. Actually the Port Police is the appropriate entity to deal with this. It looks like he was flying from the parking lot of the USS Iowa Museum, which is ultimately controlled by the LA Port Authority. It's not clear from the video but it sounded like he was flying over active duty Navy ships separate from the Iowa museum. If so, he was really inviting a response.

I suspect when the Navy called the Port Police they had to scramble to find a reason it would be illegal, and they found a good one. It had nothing to do with airspace at all, it was just a city park/harbor/beach ordinance. I got the sense the Port Police really didn't want to have to respond to this, but felt they had to, considering the source of the complaint. Based upon the initial officer's tone, I wonder if this individual would have got away with just a warning and allowed to leave with his Phantom had he not given that first officer such a difficult time.

Comment by Timothy Clemans on August 7, 2014 at 10:28pm


Given these officers didn't have a history with him I think there's a good chance he could have been given a warning. I feel they were doing a balancing act. They could have been a lot more aggressive with him like cite him for not having ID and requesting to look/seize his images. 

I filed a public records request with the Port which was responded to within two hours. Hopefully the quick initial response means I'll get a police report within a week.

Comment by json on August 7, 2014 at 10:38pm

Oh another phantom..


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