Teen at center of drone controversies arrested for assaulting an - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Teen at center of drone controversies arrested for assaulting an officer

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Gun-firing drone. (Youtube photo/Clinton Police Department) Gun-firing drone. (Youtube photo/Clinton Police Department)
CLINTON, CT (WFSB) -

A teen at the center of drone controversies has been charged with assaulting an officer.

Austin Haughwout, 18, of Clinton, was arraigned at Middlesex Superior Court on Thursday. His arraignment comes after he was charged with two counts of assault on an officer and one count of interfering with police.

He also spent a night in jail after a hospital visit when he surrendered to police on Sunday.

According to an affidavit, an officer said he responded to the Henry Carter Hull Library on Sunday for a routine check. He saw a sedan in a dark rear corner of the parking lot.

"I'm at library using wi-fi," Haughwout told Eyewitness News. "[A] cop pulls in, as I'm pulling out and puts [his] lights on. I stop and ask him if 'you suspect me of committing a crime.' He tells me to wait. I ask again, and again he doesn't answer."

The officer said he was looking to make sure a burglary had not taken place, so he approached the sedan.

Before he could even ask the driver anything, the officer said Haughwout screamed and demanded to know if he'd committed a crime.

The officer identified him as Haughwout due to the national attention he'd received from his recent drone incidents.

Haughwout eventually drove off yelling "This is illegal, I do not consent to this illegal detention."

The officer pursued Haughwout and was able to pull him over at the library exit, according to the affidavit.

When another officer arrived, Haughwout again yelled "do you suspect me of a crime?" and sped off onto Killingworth Turnpike.

The officers again pulled him over on the turnpike, the documents said.

"The officers pursued him and got him a quarter mile up the road, at which point he refused to comply and put car in park," said Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn, Clinton police.

When Haughwout screamed again, officers informed him this time that he had indeed committed a crime by leading officers on a pursuit and interfering with them.

The teen and the officers went back and forth, arguing over whether crimes had taken place.

Audio from the incident was captured and logged into evidence, police said.

"What crime or infraction?" Haughwout could be heard asking on the recording.

"You're trespassing," one of the officers responded. "It's public property."

"It's public property, exactly," Haughwout said. "[You] can't trespass."

"Exactly, it's town property," the officer said. "Put the car in park."

Police said the suspect remained defiant, calling the stop an "unlawful detention."

"[The] officer asked a dozen times to put the car in park," Dunn said. "That's a hazardous situation for [the] officer to be in with a moving gear on the side of a state highway. He didn't comply with officers."

Officers said they were forced to let him go.

"Because [they] didn't want to put officers in harms way because [of a] moving vehicle [or] use force to extricate [him] from [the] car," Dunn said. "So [they] let him leave."

A warrant was later issued and police informed Haughwout about it.

Haughwout and his father believe he was targeted because of his most recent drone video.

Haughwout recently posted a video of the gun-wielding drone on the website YouTube, prompting several agencies to investigate.

Police said armed technology like the one in the video is typically reserved for military operations.

In the video, the drone can be seen firing four shots.

The drone video can be seen here.

Clinton police, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions are looking into it.

The Federal Aviation Administration is also working to determine if any laws were broken.

“It should be noted that none of the facts leading to the arrest warrant or subsequent arrest at the police station, had any connection to the recent media attention that Haughwout has received regarding a drone with an attached operating firearm,” police said in a statement on Thursday.

Last year, Haughwout posted a video of a drone where he was involved in an altercation with a woman at Hammonasset Beach in Madison. The woman didn't want to be recorded by the camera-carrying drone and appeared to have been caught on camera attacking him. The woman was accepted into a rehabilitation program.

Around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, when he arrived at the police station to turn himself in for the most recent incident, Haughwout tried to argue for the release of another prisoner. Officers also believe he tried to escape from custody.

That's where police said the assault charge comes into play.

After they arrested him, police discovered a hidden phone in his underwear that they believe was used to record the process. They seized other electronics, including a camera he'd been holding as well.

Police said they asked Haughwout to comply with their orders, but he resisted. They said he proceeded to vomit all over himself and the floor and appear to hyperventilate.

Haughwout was taken to the Middlesex Memorial Shoreline Clinic in Westbrook for an evaluation,” police said. after being treated and released, he was processed at police headquarters.

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