“I’m really at their mercy right now for something that I didn’t do.”
That was the voice of Aaron Turgeon in a video uploaded to YouTube on Oct. 31, 2016, as Turgeon learned what he was up against in court.
Turgeon had used a drone, which he says he later returned, to record video of Native American-led protests against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would run through Native American land.
For this, Turgeon was arrested and charged with felony and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment as well as a misdemeanor count of physical obstruction of a government function, according to Motherboard.
He faced up to seven years in jail, but was found not guilty on all counts on Thursday.
Turgeon said police had accused him of flying a drone at either a plane or a helicopter, and he seemed perplexed that he could even be accused of such a thing.
At about 33 minutes into the video below, you can see what is alleged to be Turgeon’s drone flying nowhere close to a North Dakota Highway Patrol plane that is also in frame.
For this, he was accused of “extreme indifference to the value of human life,” according to documents obtained by Motherboard.
The misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge came from allegedly flying a drone above protesters, “creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death.”
Turgeon is not the only journalist arrested after recording what happened to pipeline protesters.
Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman was charged with participating in a riot after recording video of protests in October.
She, like Turgeon, was cleared.