A self-described Christian missionary from Westchester was arrested after Englewood police said he used a drone to peer into the second-floor office of an abortion doctor he was stalking.
Daniel Stephen Courney, 36, of Scarsdale, NY was caught piloting the device -- equipped with a camera and speaker -- outside Metropolitan Medical Associates on Engle Street, where he and other pro-lifers have frequently protested over the years, Detective Capt. Timothy Torell said.
Detective Ron Layne learned that Courney had been terrorizing the doctor over a four-month period by “purposely and repeatedly” following him and “engaging in a course of conduct with the intent of annoying or placing him in reasonable fear,” beginning last December, Torell said.
Englewood police “recognize constitutionally-protected rights to join with fellow citizens in lawful and peaceful protests,” the captain said.
Courney’s behavior toward the doctor was illegal, however, he said.
Torell said the Federal Aviation Administration provided ongoing assistance in the investigation, which led to stalking charges against Courney.
Police also seized the drone, as well as the equipment used to remotely pilot it, he said. They sent Courney to the Bergen County Jail, only to have a judge in Hackensack order him released the next day, records show.
“I was strip searched completely naked, made to don an orange jumpsuit that said PRISONER, not even given a mattress pad or pillow but forced to sleep on a steel shelf, etc.,” Courney wrote in a subsequent Facebook post.
“But we will not be intimidated,” he wrote, adding that he was gearing up for his court hearings and returning to the “murder mill.”
He stood outside the MMA building earlier this week for nearly three hours – “preached at the top of my lungs for nearly two” – reading passages from the Bible and exhorting patients to resist the “friendly neighborhood ethnic cleansing murder hole.”
“Don’t let them kill your baby. Save that baby’s life,” he shouts in a Facebook video (below). “You are your baby’s keeper. There is no justification for murder.”
Courney said he served as a combat medic in the U.S. Army before being "medically discharged with a permanent disability" that he didn't identify.
He calls himself a “slave of Christ, husband, father of six, pastor of Christ Covenant Church, street preacher, veteran.”
Courney was once convicted in in England for using “threatening and discriminatory language” while preaching after a Muslim woman and family members accused him of singling her out, calling her “ISIS” and telling her to “go back to your country.”
An appeals court overturned the verdict, agreeing that he was protected under free-speech laws there.
Courney had also been a missionary in Nepal and India for several years.
Various news reports show that he entered India on a tourist visa nearly 15 years ago, married a local woman and remained for more than a decade, preaching Christianity, before he was deported in 2017.
Critics said he insulted other religions – particularly Hinduism – while criticizing the Indian government.
Courney countered that he was doing nothing other than "spreading the Light of Jesus Christ in this dark land."
He said he and his wife operated an orphanage boys and oversaw "various mercy ministries, such as the monthly support of widows, enabling poor, socially-repressed Christians, and programs to help the community."
ALSO SEE: Several people hijacked a virtual service of a predominately Asian-American church in Englewood, uttering ethnic slurs and posting pornographic images, authorities said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.