Drone journalist to sue city of Hartford, claiming police "went after my job"


Pedro Rivera, the 28-year old photographer who flew a small drone around a fatal car accident earlier this month, will sue the city of Hartford, Conn., claiming police there jeopardized his employment at a television news station.

In the lawsuit, Rivera seeks lost wages and damages from being suspended from his workplace.

Rivera will be represented by Norman Pattis, a prominent Connecticut-based attorney who specializes in civil rights and criminal defense. Pattis alluded to the lawsuit last week on his Facebook page, and today indicated the suit would be filed on Tuesday.

pattis fb.jpg

“It’s absolutely ridiculous," Rivera told Vice Motherboard, which broke the story earlier today. "I wasn’t charged, I didn’t violate anything. They went after my job,”

According to an email from Rivera, Hartford police called and sent emails to WFSB, a local station that employed the photographer on a freelance basis. Hartford police claimed Rivera was flying his unmanned aircraft on behalf of the station, despite Rivera having informed police that he was not flying for hire.

The photographer was suspended for a week without pay due to the incident.

According to the GPS data embedded in one of Rivera's aerial photos, the drone journalist was flying his DJI Phantom Vision about 150 feet from the scene of the fatal car accident. Rivera said he was flying about 200 feet above ground when the photo was taken.

Rivera said he has yet to be contacted by the Federal Aviation Administration, who reportedly are investigating the flight.