For the first time in American history, a U.S. citizen — a North Dakota farmer — has been sentenced to prison with the aid and assistance of a Predator drone.
Forbes reported that Rodney Brossart was arrested in 2011, after a long standoff with police that came after complaints he stole six cows from one of his neighbors. Police at the time said family members refused to allow them entry to their farm, and Mr. Brossart, meanwhile, refused to show himself in court.
Police ultimately called in a Predator drone to conduct surveillance operations at the farm, The Associated Press reported.
Mr. Brossart was just recently found not guilty of the cow theft, but was given three years for his part in the armed police standoff — in part, because of video supplied by the drone to court officials, Forbes said. Specifically, a jury found him guilty of terrorizing police but acquitted him of theft and criminal mischief. All but six months of that jail sentence was suspended, Forbes reported.
The attorney for Mr. Brossart argued — unsuccessfully, it seemed — that the terrorizing charges related to his standoff with police should be dropped because the information used from the drone to convict him was secured without a warrant, Fox News reported.
Prosecutors had previously dropped charges against Mr. Brossart’s wife and daughter, for their alleged roles in keeping police at bay. Charges against his three sons related to terrorizing are still pending. Their trials will be set sometime in the future, Fox News reported.
Forbes reported the use of drones for police missions is on the rise. Between 2010 and 2012, law enforcement agencies used CBP Predator drones for 700 missions, the media outlet reported.