Back in April, an award-winning National Geographic and New York Times photographer, George Steinmetz, had his drone confiscated by the New York Police Department (NYPD) while documenting mass COVID-19 burials on Hart Island. Steinmetz was issued a desk ticket for violating NYC Administrative Code § 10–126, which prohibits the takeoff and landing of drones within New York City.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for early August. During that time, the NYPD held onto Steinmetz’ Mavic 2 Pro as ‘evidence.’ After an unsuccessful attempt to get it back, he went on to purchase two additional Mavic 2 Pro drones. ‘I need to get back to work,’ Steinmetz explained. ‘The Mavic 2 Pro is in a real sweet spot for me. I prefer the optics and files from the big bird, the Inspire 2 with the X7 gimbal. But the Mav 2 flies really well, has a decent file…the compactness is quite revolutionary.’
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Preparing for burials of what appear to be more COVID-19 victims this morning on Hart Island, New York City. For over 150 years this island with no public access has been used to bury over a million souls who’s bodies were not claimed for private burial. With the morgues of NYC strained, the pace of burials on Hart Island has increased dramatically. I was cited by NYPD while taking this photo, and my drone was confiscated as evidence, for a court date tentatively scheduled for mid-August. #keepthememorycard
Steinmetz’ story has a happy ending, after all. ‘My case was spontaneously dismissed last week [the week of August 7th, 2020], so I went down to the Bronx Police HQ on Wednesday and recovered it. During the time it was confiscated I had to buy a replacement to keep working, and don’t know if I will pursue any further legal action,’ he tells DPReview.
We will keep you updated if any new developments come about.
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