Broadway bar manager arrested for flying drone ‘too low’ during downtown Nashville march

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The man arrested during Saturday’s peaceful “March for Justice” in downtown Nashville says he was not breaking any laws and intends to fight the charge.

According to Metro police, Benjamin Dodson was flying his drone too low over the crowd on Broadway. The 34-year-old was arrested on a charge of criminal trespassing.

“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” Dodson told News 2 following his arrest.

Dodson, who is the general manager of a bar on Broadway, said he has logged hundreds of miles in flights with his drones and is well-aware of the laws. He said he was not flying over the crowd and was not putting anyone in danger.

“It’s an incredible moment and I was trying to capture that,” Dodson explained. “I informed the police officer that I’ll be doing aerial photography from the sky with my drone. He said, you know, ‘not an issue, just be careful.’”

A few minutes later, Dodson said another officer approached and told him it was illegal to fly his drone over the crowd. Dodson said he explained to the officer he was flying over the building on Broadway and was hundreds of feet from any protesters.

“He told me to bring it home. As soon as I landed it, he said ‘you’re under arrest’,” Dodson explained. “He escorted me to an undercover van, where they processed me, put me in handcuffs and then transported me to the Davidson County jail. I was there for roughly three and a half hours.”

Dodson bonded out of jail Saturday night. He said his drone was confiscated by police and has not been returned. Dodson was assigned a court date of June 22 and said his flight plan will show he did not fly over any groups of people.

Metro police said Dodson was the only person arrested during Saturday’s “March for Justice,” which was attended by an estimated 2,000 people.

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