Weaponized drone maker files civil rights lawsuit against CCSU - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Weaponized drone maker files civil rights lawsuit against CCSU

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Haughwout's team reminds us the teen didn't commit a crime with this device. Legal conversation began afterwards. (WFSB) Haughwout's team reminds us the teen didn't commit a crime with this device. Legal conversation began afterwards. (WFSB)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

The Connecticut mastermind behind a viral video involving an armed drone is now suing his former university.

The video by 19-year-old Austin Haughwout is already up to 3.5 million views on YouTube

Following the release of that video and several media reports, the Clinton teen, who modified a drone to fire a gun, got expelled from Central Connecticut State University.

That video was deemed alarming and got the attention of federal officials. But, Haughwout's team reminded folks that the gun firing drone didn't break any laws and now they're fighting it.

“It's a fun hobby and there's nothing inherently bad about it,” Haughwout said.

For the first time, Eyewitness News heard from Haughwout on Monday.

“It's just an application of interesting technology that's available not only to myself or to any engineering students, but to the general public at large,” Haughwout said.  

That short clip got under the skin of a lot of people. Haughwout testified in front of state lawmakers last week as legislation to outlaw these modifications are now being discussed.

According to the lawsuit, after seeing a television report, a CCSU professor wrote to the provost, accusing the Clinton teen of "immoral and extremely dangerous" activity by modifying this drone.

Haughwout's lawyer Jon Schoenhorn said that letter got the university to eventually expel the former sophomore.

“CCSU decided that this is not someone we want here,” Schoenhorn said. “It was a stupid move, but more importantly, we believe it was an unconstitutional move.”

Schoenhorn said the university officially expelled Haughwout for violating the code of conduct. They based his expulsion on unidentified students saying they heard Haughwout making threats.

It's something Haughwout denied and his team insists the school was scared of the gun-firing drone.

“It's obvious,” Schoenhorn said. “It was a vendetta because of the media coverage surrounding this particular quadcopter.”

Eyewitness News spoke with two students who knew Haughwout from his days at the tea club, and they're not surprised by this lawsuit.

“I can understand why they did it,” Tabree Bello said. “But, I don't think that was a good enough reason to expel him.”

In the meantime, Haughwout is doing odd jobs for family and friends. He said he'd love to be a mechanical or electrical engineer and will come back to CCSU with no hesitations, if he wins his case.

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