A drone flying illegally crashed in a park near the White House Friday, police said. The U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Rose reportedly said that the police confiscated the drone and issued a criminal citation against a man.
The operator of the drone was identified as Howard Solomon III of Washington D.C. He was reportedly cited for operating an unmanned aircraft in a prohibited area, and is liable for an $85 fine under the criminal citation.
Solomon was flying the drone near the popular structure Washington Monument close to the White House. He told the Associated Press (AP) that he was attempting to photograph the monument and the wind blew the drone across a street separating the Ellipse, a park to the south of the White House.
“I was just flying trying to take pictures of the monument,” Solomon said, according to AP. He also added that officials asked “a bunch of questions like I was a terrorist.”
Police did not take Solomon in custody but was told to appear in court, the The Washington Post reported. Sgt. Rose said there was “no indication of anything nefarious” in Solomon’s act of operating the drone.
The Park Police, according to the Post, said Friday’s drone crashing was the ninth time that an unmanned aircraft was operated in a national park in the Washington area this year. Rose reportedly said the Park Police was planning to make people more aware of airspace that is off-limits to drones.
“In an effort to deter drone usage, we’re partnering with the FAA and we’re launching a campaign. We’ll be posting signs to various parks,” Rose reportedly said.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, all airspace within 15 miles of Reagan National Airport comes under considered a “no-drone zone.”