Los Angeles police have asked the city attorney’s office and county prosecutors to explore whether they can legally prohibit civilians from flying drones with cameras over department-owned parking lots.
The inquiry was sparked after a South Bay man who routinely films police activity and posts the footage on his website flew his drone over the parking lot of the LAPD’s Hollywood station this week and filmed squad cars going in and out.
He then posted the video on YouTube.
The police aren’t too happy about it.
“What concerns us is that they are filming over private property and it’s gated – you’re looking at the layout of the police station, how we operate, personnel license plates,” said police Lt. Michael Ling. “It’s kind of like if it was your house, if they’re flying over your backyard you’d start asking questions about it.”
The police seem to think that because their police parking lot is gated, it’s trespassing if someone photographs or records the cars. The police, their vehicles, and the parking lot are paid for by the taxpayers. Theoretically, it’s all owned by the citizens, so citizens should be able to be photograph it. It’s not private property.