Police shoot down drone at Dakota Access pipeline protest

Technically Incorrect: Authorities in North Dakota say the drone was threatening a surveillance helicopter.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Drones are the latest weapon and the latest target for law enforcement.

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Modern warfare seems more and more to resemble modern life.

Or is it the other way around?

Drones are increasingly being used in battle, and civilians are increasingly using drones for their own purposes.

In North Dakota, there's currently a tense protest against the building of a 1,200-mile pipeline by Texas-based company Energy Transfer Partners. More than 80 people were arrested over the weekend, reports CBS News.

There was also a drone shooting.

As the Morton County Sheriff's Office declared on its Facebook page, a drone operated by a protester was eliminated by "less-than-lethal ammunition" on Sunday morning.

The police said a surveillance helicopter was being threatened by the drone and the pilot and passengers feared for their lives.

The Morton County Sheriff's Office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a statement, the sheriff's office said the drone was flying directly above officers, which contravenes FAA rules. These state that drones "may not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary vehicle."

Drone operators have been known to interfere with authorities in several dangerous situations.

During last year's California wildfires, drone operators interfered with helicopters that were trying to douse the fires.

Private citizens have also found drones a nuisance. Some have even resorted to shooting them down because they said they were snooping over their property.

The Morton County Sheriff's Department said two drone operators have already been charged during previous incidents related to the protests. One was charged with stalking and the other with reckless endangerment.

This is, one suspects, only the beginning.