MADISON, Conn. (AP) - A Westbrook woman faces assault charges after confronting a teenager who was using a drone to film above Hammonasset Beach.
Andrea Mears, 24, was charged with third-degree assault and breach of peace after an investigation into the May 12 encounter.
A video posted on the website Photography is Not a Crime shows the woman calling 17-year-old Austin Haughwout a pervert, striking him and ripping his shirt.
Haughwout, of Clinton, told reporters he had been using the remote-controlled drone to get footage of the landscape from about 50 feet above the beach when he was confronted by Mears.
“When she first came up I thought it was just someone calling the cops and I didn’t think she would attack me,” Haughwout said.
Mears does not have a listed phone number and could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. She told television reporters that Haughwout struck her first and edited that out of the Internet video, which was recorded on his cellphone.
She can be seen in the video calling police and demanding that Haughwout stop using the drone. He can be seen moving some of the equipment before the camera starts shaking and he begins yelling that he is being assaulted.
“Maybe you shouldn’t be taking pictures of people on the beach,” Mears says in the video.
The teen told the New Haven Register that he’s been flying remote-controlled aircraft since the age of 9 and has been using the drone since September.
He said he usually gets a positive response from people who are interested in the technology.
Mears is due in New Haven Superior Court on June 19.