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Man hit with two felony charges after shooting down a drone in Minnesota

Man hit with two felony charges after shooting down a drone in Minnesota

A man in Minnesota who shot down a drone is now hit with two felony charges. The drone pilot was flying his unmanned aircraft over a meat processing facility in the Southern Minnesota town of Butterfield when it was shot down.

Man hit with two felony charges after shooting down a drone

The pilot flew his drone over the facilities of Butterfield Foods, a meat producer in the town of Butterfield, to take aerial photos and try to prove that the company was slaughtering chickens because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two Butterfield Foods employees approached the drone pilot and asked him what he was doing. Shortly thereafter a person shot the drone out of the sky. The pilot said that his drone costs $1,900.

According to ARS Technica, local authorities arrested 24-year-old Travis Duance Winters who admitted to shooting down the drone. He has been charged in the Watonwan County District Court and faces charges of criminal damage to property and reckless discharge of a weapon within the limits of the city.

Shooting down an aircraft is a federal crime, whether it is a manned or unmanned aircraft. Over the last few years, we have seen a number of cases in which a drone was being shot at. However, we have yet to see anybody being prosecuted under federal law for any of these offenses.

In Wilkesboro, NC the town council recently tried to make it illegal to fly a drone over a chicken processing plant.

What do you think about this case and the two felony charges that the shooter is hit with? Is that enough or should he be prosecuted under federal law as well? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Photo by Josh Sorenson on Unsplash

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Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews. Haye is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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  • Thanks for this well researched story Haye. It’s important to note the plant tried unsuccessfully to get a state law passed to restrict the airspace over the plant with the intended and stated purpose of shutting down animal rights activists. This level violence was also intended to mortally terrorize the pilot and his crew, make no mistake.


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