Filmmaker Cited for Allegedly Flying Drone Too Close to LAPD Air Support Division

A Southern California filmmaker says he was cited and his drone was confiscated for allegedly flying too close to Piper Tech after dark -- and he could potentially face jail time.

Arvel Chappell said he was stunned police accused him of flying his drone near LAPD's Air Support Division, also known as Piper Technical Center, last December.

Chappell uses his drones for film work and said he already registered his drone with federal authorities.

"Everything that I been working toward for my entire career as a filmmaker, as an aerospace engineer, and as a pilot has been nothing but to promote aviation and safety through flight," Chappell said.

Chappell's attorney contends the City of Los Angeles does not have any jurisdiction to enforce any anti-drone ordinance.

"Federal law preempts what the City of Los Angeles has attempted to do here. In other words, it's the FAA that sets the rules for airspace and the FAA only," said attorney Terrence Jones.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander defended the ordinance, telling NBC4, "If drones fly, first responders can't." Englander is also the Chairman of the city's Public Safety Committee.

Jones said he wants the charges against Chappell to be dropped, adding that his client also supports safe skies.

"This is not the defendant that I would choose to prosecute."

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