Teenager who rigged flame-throwing drone appears in court to fight expulsion

Teenager who rigged flame-throwing drone appears in court to fight expulsion
A young Connecticut man is fighting his expulsion from university, which he says was over online videos of remote-controlled drones shooting a gun and flamethrower.

Austin Haughwout, 19, appeared in state court in New Britain, Connecticut on Monday to sue Central Connecticut State University in an effort to be reinstated.

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He says he was expelled on bogus threat allegations by school officials who were really only concerned about viral videos he posted. One of the videos shows a quadcopter remotely firing off a handgun, and another features a drone using a flamethrower to ignite a spit-roasted turkey in his family’s back yard.

Haughwout testified that he is openly in favor of gun rights, and suspects that a pro-gun control student had made the complaint that got him in trouble by misrepresenting his jokes as threats to go on a school shooting, according to CBS Connecticut. His attorneys say that his jokes are protected by the First Amendment.

He also said that school officials failed to tell him that he could have had more time to prepare for the disciplinary hearing that determined his expulsion, and that he only learned of the names of those who filed the complaint against him at the very Monday hearing that he was testifying at.

The videos of the drones also caused the Federal Aviation Administration to subpoena Haughwout and his father late last year, saying that rigging drones with weapons could cause harm to people or property.

The two men refused to comply with the subpoena, saying that it constituted an unreasonable search that violated their Fourth Amendment rights. However, a federal judge in New Haven ordered the Haughwouts to observe the subpoena last month.