Unmanned Predator drones are typically used by the military for surveillance, but in the town of Lakota, North Dakota one was used to help arrest a man who may or may not have stolen some cows. Rodney Brossart became the first American citizen to be arrested with the help of such a drone, reports US News, after a 16-hour standoff with police that began with an ownership dispute over six cows that made their way on to his property. The confrontation reportedly involved police using tasers while Brossart and his family — who were armed with rifles — threatened to shoot anyone who came on the property. The Predator was then used to ensure that police could arrest Brossart safely.
Brossart's lawyer, Bruce Quick, has now come out and called the drone use "outrageous government conduct," while police claim that it was reasonable because it was deployed after a warrant was issued and wasn't used to gather evidence. "The use of unmanned surveillance aircraft is a non-issue in this case because they were not used in any investigative manner to determine if a crime had been committed," prosecutor Douglas Manbeck says. And even if it were, he says there are no existing laws that ban such use. In spite of this, Quick believes that the use of drones in civilian arrests could lead to some potential issues moving forward. "I think we need to think long and hard before we proceed down this path," he explains.