The Curious Case Of The Now Infamous Austin Haughwout

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The Curious Case Of The Now Infamous Austin Haughwout

TV News featuring Austin's Gun firing quadcopter

Austin’s Gun Firing Quadcopter

I’m not sure how you could avoid this story, Austin Haughwout has been everywhere. Originally you heard about him when he was involved in an assault incident while he was filming with his drone on the beach. You then heard about him when he attached a semi-automatic gun to a custom-built quadcopter. Now you are hearing about him because he has been accused of “two counts of assault on a police officer and one count of interfering with an officer.”

This story is being covered by local press in the Connecticut area:

Justin Haughwout, the Clinton teenager who grabbed national headlines earlier this week for his YouTube video showing a drone that fired a gun, has been charged with assaulting two police officers, , police said.

Haughwout was also the focus of widespread news coverage last year when police charged a woman with assault after she confronted him at a state beach about flying a drone there. He recorded the assault with his cellphone camera and posted the video online.

Haughwout, of Egypt Lane, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of assault on a police officer and one count of interfering with an officer, a court clerk said. He was arraigned Thursday at Superior Court and released after posting bond. His bail had been set at $12,500.

Haughwout has not responded to attempts to reach him for comment. Police said Thursday the charges had nothing to do with the video of the gun-firing drone.

Drone-Flying Austin Haughwout Charged With Assaulting Police

By independent news channels:

Police said the arrest allegedly was not related to the gun-firing drone video, but the teen claims he has been “harassed” by authorities over the video. Authorities asked Haughwout on Wednesday to turn himself in for an incident with a police officer in a library parking lot Sunday, for which there was an arrest warrant.

It is not clear what crime, if any, occurred at the library, but according to the warrant, a police officer approached Haughwout while he was in his vehicle to check that nothing was amiss in the rear of the library, which was the scene of an earlier burglary, the warrant said.

The teen, who was known to the officer, attempted to drive out of the parking lot, but eventually pulled over when the police officer turned on his lights. The officer called for backup because the teen was known to have access to guns, the warrant said.

Teen Who Created Drone-Mounted Gun Arrested After Assaulting Cops

Even by major network news channels:

The teenager who got national attention for posting a video of a drone firing a handgun, is accused of assaulting a police officer who was attempting to arrest him on charges related to a motor vehicle case.

Austin Haughwout appeared in Middletown court on Thursday to face charges that Clinton police say had nothing to do with the unmanned aircraft.

CBS Connecticut reports that police say they asked 18-year-old Austin Haughwout to come to the police station to be arrested on Wednesday. When he arrived, police say he refused to obey an officer’s instructions, and then tried to leave.

The officer reportedly tried to restrain him, and a fight started.

Police say Haughwout hit and kicked officers, who suffered minor injuries.

Teen who flew drone with handgun arrested after scuffle with cops

What’s interesting is nearly all of the stories being published are not sharing Austin’s perspective. While the video he attempted to collect during his voluntary turned himself in to the local police is still MIA. Austin has shared a very interesting video that captures the entire event that was the catalyst for Austin’s later arrest and the violence that followed.

Here is a lengthy except, but I feel it’s important to share Austin’s position.

Arrested for Failing to Comply

As some of you may have heard, I was arrested on July 22nd for interfering with an officer, assault and a slew of other charges. On Sunday night, July 19th, I had parked outside my town’s public library to upload a homework assignment for my summer class over the free wi-fi available there. As I was leaving, I noticed an officer of Clinton Police Department pull in. After confirming with the officer that I was not currently suspected of a crime, I proceeded to attempt to leave, but the officer then came up behind me, and reactivated his emergency lights. I inquired as to whether I was suspected of a crime, and received no response, however I had previously been told that I wasn’t. After giving a lengthy time, I proceed on my way and the officer then drove out behind me signalling that he wanted me to stop and I complied. Late Wednesday, July 22nd, I was informed that a warrant had been issued for my arrest and that I should report to the police station. I promptly reported to the police station and brought a GoPro camera with me. I was told in the lobby that I could not bring it inside, and that either police would seize it, or to leave it in the lobby where they won’t accept responsibility if it is stolen. I then informed the officer that I would return it to my vehicle at which point I was thrown to the ground and had my head bashed against the wall and floor until I vomited and passed out. I woke up 45 minutes later in the hospital stripped naked and after being released, I was booked into jail on charges of assault of an officer and interfering with an officer.

I will post the video taken inside the police station by the GoPro, assuming that it has not been deleted or destroyed. This is not the first time that the Clinton Police Department has harassed me and my family and I suspect that this incident is in reaction to my recent video about my multirotor project and also in response to litigation I currently have pending against them on unrelated matters.

Relevant Case Law:

C.A.2 (Conn.) 2007. An individual approached by an officer who has no reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing may ignore the officer and go about his business, and his refusal to cooperate may not form the basis for his detention. U.S.C.A Const.Amend 4.-U.S. Baldwin, 496 F.3d 215 certiorari denied 128 S.Ct. 1324, 552 U.S. 1222, 170 L.Ed.2d 135.

D.Conn. 2010. The Fourth Amendment requires at least a minimal level of objective justification for making a Terry stop; the officer must be able to articulate more than an inchoate and particularized suspicion or hunch of criminal activity. U.S.C.A Const-Amend 4.-U.S. v. Dorlette, 706 F. Supp.2d 290.

Refusal to cooperate with a police officer’s command, without more, does not furnish the minimal level of objective justification needed for a detention or seizure, because a person has a right to ignore the police and go about his business. U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 4.-Id.

C.A.2 (Conn.) 2005. An individual’s presence in an area of expected criminal activity, standing alone, is not enough to support a reasonable, particularized suspicion that the person is committing a crime, as would support an investigative stop, but officers are not required to ignore the relevant characteristics of a location in determining whether the circumstances are sufficiently suspicious to warrant further investigation. U.S.C.A Const.Amend 4.-Holeman v. City of New London, 425 F.3d 184.

Arrested for Failing to Comply

This is obviously a story that will continue to develop.

By |2017-08-31T15:24:38-08:00July 26th, 2015|Drone Law, Drones, Odd/Weird, Opinion, Police|Comments Off on The Curious Case Of The Now Infamous Austin Haughwout

About the Author:

Sam Estrin
I'm an avid drone enthusiast and part-time drone blogger living outside of the DC area. I track drone news and write editorials and timely drone news stories that I find interesting. If you like my stories, you can follow me on Twitter or visit me at LinkedIn. If you'd like me to write for your drone oriented publication or blog, you can contact me at