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Family of anti-government separatists busted by cops using a Predator drone... after 'stealing six cows'

Meet the Brossarts, a North Dakota family deemed so dangerous that the local sheriff needed unleashed an unmanned Predator drone to help bring them in. The Brossart's alleged crime? They wouldn't give back three cows and their calves that wandered onto their 3,000-acre farm this summer. The same aerial vehicles used by the CIA to track down and assassinate terrorists and militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan are now being deployed by cops to spy on Americans in their own backyards. ( More...

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eagle5719 0
It matters not how the Brossarts were observed, by drone, helicopter, telescope or whatever or just maybe a local witness. They knew the cattle was not theirs and they should've returned them even if they are anti-government radicals. But of course they have their dukes up 24/7 and hope for a confrontation with authorities.
pilot0987 0
This was a federally own piece of property, highly unlikely that some back woods police department would get authorization from the government for a drone to spy on the hillbillies stealing cows. Its illegal because the police department did not use their own resources but a multi million remotely piloted aircraft which is still illegal to operate over the United States.
Jeremy Kudlick 0
It's not illegal whatsoever. The Supreme Court found many years ago that anything that is visible from the air, even if it is on your own private property, can be surveilled without a warrant since there cannot be an expectation of privacy outside of a building.

Again, they did not "spy" on the "hilbillies" for stealing the cows. They used the drone to observe them only after they were met with force while trying to serve a warrant. There is no legal difference between using the UAV and a helicopter, but there wouldn't be a story if they had used a helicopter.
pilot0987 0
Yes there is a difference. A really big difference from a UAV and a helicopter, there wouldn't be a story if they used a helicopter because thats what they are supposed to use. Instead they sat on there lazy asses and used government resources to do there job, of course they were met with resistance. The cops just arrested two of the family members obviously they were within there rights to bare arms at there private residence or they would have been shot for posing a threat to police officers. A drone is a observation platform and was built as counter intel. If the other person does not know you are watching them it is considered spying.
Jeremy Kudlick 0
I'll tell you what - you point a firearm in a law officer's face when they come to effect a warrant, and see how well you do.

Police and Sheriff Departments are also government resources. There may be a Memorandum of Agreement in place of which we are not aware. Again, legally, there is no difference since the request for surveillance came only after they were met with force while acting in the lawful capacity of their jobs. The family was well aware they were being watched, since they knew law enforcement officers had surrounded the property.

Also, this article came from the Daily Mail, which is well known among journalistic circles as a tabloid. I know their intent is to stir up trouble and debate, which is what they did.
pilot0987 0
Prob not well I would imagine, but what I was trying to say is that there is nothing wrong with having rifles o ut on your own private land. I get what your saying about this stuff. Its been a long day at the field and had to vent a little. Im sure this family is a waste to our country and deserved everything they got.
Jeremy Kudlick 0
I wholeheartedly agree that responsible gun ownership is a fundamental right in this country. Venting after a long day is understood - I'm less than 6 hours into a 12-hour shift right now, and my temper can be real short at the end of my shift.

No hard feelings, no worries, good debate. :)
pilot0987 0
Im not saying what these people did was right but the cops are wrong in there approach to a simple arrest. Of course the air force would allow this, they are eager to get the public to feel good about a computer flying over there houses.
UAV's are legal to operate in the United States under a Certificate of Authorization.
pilot0987 0
COA are only issued to one specific task and only to an assigned controlling agency and valid for 60 days.
David Sims 0
For all you privacy advocates, how is this any different than the police using helicopters or airplanes to watch and chase criminals? This particular department didn't own a helicopter, so they called for reinforcements. Its not like this was an armed drone that blew their compound away.
pilot0987 0
Because the police departments are funded and regulated by the residents and the USAF is funded by the government and controlled by the DOD.
David Brooks 0
I could be wrong, but I though there was a law that the military (including CIA) can not spy or use forces to enforce a local law problem. Waste of resources to use a Predator, when others have said, a helicopter are small plane would work fine at considerably less cost. After Watergate the CIA was specifically restricted from spying on Americans (in the USA).
pilot0987 0
Something better the sheriff could of done was support his local FBO and hired a plane and pilot to fly over this house. Then he would be more of a hero by stimulating the economy a little bit.
Wingscrubber 0
I was thinking along similar lines - what about a Police helicopter? (If available) But if the family really are so dangerous, they might not think twice about firing upon small aircraft, which is when a drone suddenly makes sense.
ToddBaldwin3 0
Another point of view regarding the incident.

The drone in this case is a CBP assett, not a USAF asset.
Steve Jasper 0
I see another made for TV movie of the week! If not another reality show leading up to the arrest season finally. Dang, if you can't make this stuff up. They gotta get something out of this pubilicity.
not to Marcus - strongly recommend you study an old adage about "be sure brain is connected to mouth before placing mouth in gear......

First of all, most western states are, by law, "open range" states. The "open range" laws, admittedly favoring the cattle industry, establish that it is YOUR duty as a property owner to fence off and secure any property you dont want cattle running around on. Not only does a cattle owner or those operating as their agents have a right to pursue cattle ANYWHERE in an open range state, in some jurisdictions you are required by law, if requested, to ASSIST them in rounding up THEIR cattle on YOUR land. Needless to say, you may not harm cattle straying on your land.

Secondly, Customs already has the legal power to roam around ANYPLACE in the country. And the law is pretty clear that we have an "open sky" policy in our country; we can fly where we want. If you dont want to have your activities discovered, dont do them in the open.

Finally, virtually every state I am aware of, has some form of "brandishing" law regarding firearms. Bottom line - RESPONSIBLE, SANE firearms owners know not to "display a firearm in a rude or threatening manner" absent a DIRECT UNLAWFUL THREAT.

Peter Hartmann
Paulden, Arizona
Marcus Pradel 0
note to self: next time livestock wanders into your land, shoot it and call the cops to report the trespass.

What an amazing waste of money tasking a Military Drone to spy on citizens without probable cause.
Jeremy Kudlick 0
Did you read the article? The sheriff only requested the drone after they were met with force while trying to recover what was at that point stolen property (refusing to return livestock that they knew they did not own). Probable cause was in place, and use of surveillance during active police actions does not require a warrant.

The drone was already on patrol in the area. If anyone is at fault, it should be the USAF for agreeing to allow the use of the drone to minimize the risk to law enforcement officers by waiting for the subjects to lay down their weapons before taking them into custody.

This family is known to harbor violent anti-government feelings and tendencies. The fact that no shots were fired after a 16-hour standoff between the sheriffs and family is amazing. I wonder what kind of stockpile they had amassed.
cheefpilot 0
What is wrong with anti government feelings? Are you chief of the thought police?
Jeremy Kudlick 0
I never said anything was wrong with anti-government feelings and tendencies. The problem is the violent tendencies making them a possible public safety risk.


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