Technology, privacy, drones and the law clashed in Town of Ulster Court Thursday for the trial of Dave Beesmer, the man arrested last July for allegedly flying a camera-equipped drone near a medical complex.
Beesmer, of Lake Katrine, had his day in court in front of Justice Marsha Solomon Weiss and a jury of six women. The 49-year-old was arrested on July 15 after state police responded to a report of a man flying an aerial drone equipped with a video camera close to the Mount Kisco Medical Group building off Route 9W.
Beesmer, who also goes by “Front Row Dave,” was originally charged by state police with second-degree unlawful surveillance, a felony. Prosecutors ultimately dropped the charge down to second-degree attempted unlawful surveillance, a misdemeanor. He faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail and could potentially have to register as a sex offender.
With the white drone sitting at his desk, Ulster County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Colonna told the jury in his opening statements that the case was about three things.”Number one, it’s about privacy. And number two, it’s about technology, and number three, it’s about how new-fangled technology can actually really impact and impair someone’s privacy,” Colonna said.Colonna said Beesmer that day flew the drone up near the newly opened four-story building at about 3 p.m., hovered the drone in the air for about 10 minutes and took video near examination rooms inside where people get undressed. Beesmer didn’t tell anyone beforehand what he was doing, Colonna said.”They did not know, no one knew,” Colonna said.
But Beesmer’s attorney, Eric Schneider, told the jury that Colonna left out the most important elements of the alleged crime. That Beesmer’s footage was not taken “surreptitiously..”Schneider said Beesmer had dropped off his mother to go to the doctor at 3 p.m. and, in the open parking lot, launched the drone and took footage of the building. He then walked inside, told a clerk he filmed the building and said he was trying to find someone to speak to about helping them use it for marketing.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com