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07Dec 2017

Drone drops flyers over NFL stadiums, highlighting safety concerns

Drone drops flyers over NFL stadiums, highlighting safety concerns

A drone pilot unlawfully distributed flyers to crowds at two NFL stadiums in California. The man choose to arm his drone with “anti-media” leaflets, so he could spread his message to crowds attending Sundays NFL games. First he dropped his leaflets over Levi’s Stadium while the San Francisco 49ers played the Seattle Seahawks. Then the man drove to Oakland to repeat the stunt for crowds attending the Oakland Raiders' game against the Denver Broncos. Police arrested the drone operator; and the incident prompted an investigation by federal, state, and local law enforcement.

The flyers had a message about free speech and anti-TV news propaganda printed on them. Lieutenant Dan Moreno of the Santa Clara Police Department told reporters that “it was some type of First Amendment propaganda free speech stuff. Something about TV stations being taken over.”

The suspect faces charges for violating a federal rule that prohibits flying a drone within five miles of an airport, and a local ordinance that bars drones from the skies within 500 yards of Levi’s Stadium. Both stadiums are within 5 miles of an airport. Authorities also impounded the man’s drone.

Earlier this year someone crashed a drone into the stands during a MLB game at Petco Park. While neither of the incidents caused any injuries or harm to anyone, they did raise concerns about security at large events. After these flights on Sunday, police Lt. Dan Moreno said authorities are examining ways to prevent drones from hovering over large crowds of people. A drone injuring spectators is a big concerns to law enforcement.

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