LAPD detains man they say was flying drone too close to police helicopter


Los Angeles police officers briefly detained a man in East Hollywood on Thursday night who they say flew a drone too close to a police helicopter.

The airship was helping officers on the ground look for a person around Western Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, where police had set up a perimeter, when the drone flew nearby, said Officer Nuria Vanegas.

The helicopter “had to make some movements to avoid” the drone, she said. Officers found the man controlling the drone and detained him, she said. Video of the incident showed an officer seizing a white quadcopter-type drone while others handcuffed the man they say flew it.


He was detained but not arrested, Vanegas said.

“This is new territory,” she said of the incident.

Police say the man interfered with police work, and they plan to send a report to prosecutors for possible charges, she said.

As private drones become more prevalent, cities like Los Angeles are trying to find ways to regulate them.

The LAPD last year began researching what laws can be used to regulate private drone use but gained little traction. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates only how high and how close to airports drones can fly.

On Friday, the Los Angeles City Council will consider supporting proposed state legislation that would make it a crime to fly private drones near wildfires and above up to 350 feet above private property.

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