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NYPD Drone Artist Essam Attia Cleared of Charges

Wanted “Drone” Poster Artist Discusses How He Punked the NYPD from on Vimeo.

Essam Attia, the NYC artist who gained prominence through a fake NYPD drone campaign in the fall of 2012, was informed in a court appearance this past Monday that all charges would be dismissed. Attia faced five charges, three of which were felonies, and 56 counts for possessing a forged instrument.  Attia faced possible jail time.

Animal New York spoke to the artist (who they also threw a fundraiser to assist with his defense fund last Spring) and he appears to be in high spirits.  While he’s unclear as to what form his art will take next, the artist was relieved that the assistant district attorney had “bigger fish to fry.”

This isn’t to say that drones are off the table. Indeed, the NYPD appears to be quietly investigating the technology while police in Seattle and Miami actually applying to put the technology to use.

Attia’s drone campaign was effective in large part because the signs looked so real.  His intention was to raise awareness around the implications of drone use both at home and abroad.  While the NYPD could claim to use these devices for surveillance, the fact remains that they’ve killed thousands abroad with the technology and ethics around it remaining under the radar.

The effort took somewhere between 4-6 months to plan and culminated in 100 ads being put up over the course of 2 days immediately prior to the UN General Assembly meeting in NYC.

It’s only a matter of time before New York has them.  Whether they’re armed or not, you know, who knows. But we see this trend throughout history of military technology always coming to the civilian world.  It’s that age old philosophy of fear controls people.  They’re able to do whatever they want as long as we’re afraid.  Weaponized drones that we use to murder American citizens without due process coming to New York City, I’m not sure I’m cool with that but who I am to say.  If the people want that then the people want that but we’re not having that conversation and that’s what I’m here to say.

Check out more on Attia’s campaign in the video below.

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