Business, Economics and Jobs

Helicopter footage of raid on Dotcom home released to the public


Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom at North Shore District Court on February 22, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand.


Sandra Mu

At 6:46 a.m. on Jan. 20, a helicopter carrying officers belonging to New Zealand's elite special tactics group swooped down onto a mansion in the rural Coatesville community 30 kilometers northwest of Auckland. These operatives weren’t readying themselves to take down a drug kingpin or a tin pot dictator — they were enforcing copyright laws.

Police video taken from the helicopter is the first footage of the raid released to the public since the arrest of Kim Dotcom and the beginning of the controversial case against Megaupload.

The raid itself has become controversial. Dotcom’s attorneys and his supporters argue that the use of helicopters, submachine guns, assault rifles, attack dogs and brute force against Dotcom in front of his wife and children was excessive. Also enraging New Zealand citizens is the presence of the FBI during the planning stages of the raid and waiting in the background for backup during the raid itself.

Special tactics group officers have stated in court that such extreme measures were used in the raid so that Dotcom could be apprehended before he had a chance to destroy any evidence that could be used against him in the coming trial.

“Primary objective: secure suspect as soon as possible to prevent destruction of evidence,” the officer said in court.

Dotcom laughed at that idea, noting that the FBI had access to all the data prior to the raid even starting.

“All of that is so invalid and really angers me because you know the FBI was already in the data center disabling access to the data they feared we would manipulate," Dotcom said.