University of Baltimore Law Review


In June 2011, North Dakota cattle rancher Rodney Brossart became the first American to be arrested with the aid of a drone (Unmanned Aircraft System(s) or UAS) operated by law enforcement. Six cows found their way onto Brossart's property, and he refused to turn them over to law enforcement officials. Brossart and a few family members chased police officers off of his property at gunpoint, and police later returned with a warrant and SWAT team. A sixteen-hour standoff ensued until police called in the assistance of a UAS to pinpoint Brossart's exact location. Shortly thereafter, SWAT officers rushed in, tased, then arrested Brossart on various charges including terrorizing a sheriff.

A federal judge rejected a motion to dismiss the case on the ground that law enforcement officials did not have a warrant to conduct the surveillance. On January 14, 2014, Brossart was sentenced to three years in prison.



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