Amateur Filmmaker Arrested and Held for 12 Hours for Flying Drone Near the NFL Draft
An amateur filmmaker named Johnathan Kolleh was arrested in Philadelphia last Friday and held for over 12 hours for flying a drone near the NFL Draft.
Kolleh, 27, released a short film called Straight Outta Delco that got 281,000 views on Facebook back in January. Last week he began shooting his next project, Straight Outta Philly, at a skate park along the banks of the Schuylkill River, right next to the the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Unfortunately for Kolleh, it just so happened that the NFL Draft was being held in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and drones were not allowed at the NFL Draft.
While he was filming skaters, Kolleh was approached by a police officer. According to Kolleh, who told his story to Deadspin, the officer said, “You know you’re not allowed to fly drones at this event,” to which Kolleh replied, “Oh I wasn’t aware of that.”
Kolleh then told the officer that he was making a film, and that he had an FAA permit for the drone. So you would think at that point the cop would have just give him a warning, or at the most issue a citation. But no. The cop called his supervisor, who called called the counterterrorism unit.
“This off-road looking vehicle that says ‘COUNTERTERRORISM’ on the side pulls up. And these two—not even officers—like, soldiers with tactical vests come out. And they start to ask the questions. And it was pretty much the same questions that I’ve been answering. The good thing that they did, what they did differently, was they looked at that footage of my drone. They inspected everything and they said okay.”
The counterterrorism guys then told Kolleh that he had to talk to their supervisors. So he got in their van and drove around to the back of the Museum of Art. And there they arrested him.
Kolleh was then driven to the 9th district and placed in a holding cell. After about four hours he was fingerprinted, told he had been arrested for reckless endangerment, and allowed to make a phone call. About four hours after that he was released and told he’d receive a letter in the mail pertaining to the charges.
Here the little bit of video Kolleh filmed during his ordeal:
Police obviously have to take every precaution with big public events, and Kolleh told Deadspin that all the officers were very professional.That said, it’s pretty silly to arrest a guy and hold him for 12 hours when he’s clearly not a threat to the public.
Fortunately, sources tell Deadspin that the Philadelphia district attorney is not going to press charges.
Hat Tip – [Deadspin]