'Dongcopter' Comes for New Mexico Mayoral Candidate

Man facing several charges after allegedly punching the candidate, a sheriff
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2021 7:20 AM CDT

A New Mexico sheriff hoping to become mayor of Albuquerque had his largest campaign event interrupted Tuesday by a drone dangling an adult toy. Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales was responding to a question from a woman in the audience of 70 at Revel Entertainment Center when a drone buzzed toward the stage. "Is that a dong on a drone?" a voice said in footage from the event. Gonzales tells the Albuquerque Journal that he could see a man he believed to be the drone's operator on the other side of a fence. Once the venue's owner grabbed the contraption from the air—"dong" first—another person, a man later identified as Kaelan Ashby Dreyer, tried to get it back, according to a criminal complaint. Deputies say Dreyer then threw a punch at Gonzales, which landed on his arm, and yelled "he's a tyrant," per the AP.

"I just took a step back … I've been in a lot worse situations," Gonzales tells the Journal. The 20-year-old Dreyer was tackled, then booked into jail on charges of misdemeanor battery, misdemeanor resisting, and evading or obstructing an officer. He was later released, while the drone was submitted as evidence. Gonzales said Wednesday he believed Dreyer and three companions—including the woman who asked him what he would do to make lives better for minorities—were "political operatives" planted to disrupt the event. He suggested the campaign of incumbent Mayor Tim Keller, a fellow Democrat, was involved. Keller's campaign denies that as does Dreyer. "I'm not a fan of Tim Keller either and identify as libertarian," he tells the Journal, which notes the so-called "dongcopter" was also seen Sunday at an event for congressional candidate Mark Moores, a Republican. (More New Mexico stories.)

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