Fking moron to the aerial community:
A 3-pound drone hovering above celebrating Los Angeles Kings fans outside Staples Center on Friday until it was knocked out of the sky with a T-shirt did not belong to the Los Angeles Police Department, a spokesman said Monday.
So far, nobody has claimed the white â€œPhantomâ€ device, which was taken into LAPD custody as â€œfound property.â€ Some Internet reports over the weekend suggested the drone belonged to the LAPD.
â€œIt is not the LAPDâ€™s drone,â€ Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. â€œWhen it flew over me, it looked like it had a camera on the bottom.â€
A Los Angeles News Group photographer took photos of the drone, and videos posted on Facebook and YouTube showed fans chanting â€œWe want the droneâ€ and throwing shoes, clothes and water bottles at it until it fell to the ground. Someone then smashed it with a skateboard.
The LAPD, which refers to drones as an â€œUnmanned Aerial System,â€ recently acquired two Draganflyer X6 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles from the Seattle Police Department, which quickly gave them away after a public outcry over the new technology. The 3-foot-wide devices have cameras and night-vision capabilities and are much larger than the one hovering outside Staples Center.
Smith said the devices are â€œin the possession of a federal agencyâ€ until the city and Police Commission supports the Police Department using them and until the LAPD determines how they would be utilized. Smith said itâ€™s possible they could be used for hostage or barricade situations.
â€œItâ€™s a lot safer for our officer to fly a drone and look in windows and look through property as opposed to sending an officer there or to fly overhead,â€ he said.
Small drones, which operate like remote-controlled model aircraft, also have recently drawn interest from news organizations as a way to gather video. Whoever flew the drone Friday night committed no crime, Smith said.
Legally, anyone can fly an unmanned aerial vehicle for recreational purposes under 50 feet. The devices cannot be used for commercial reasons, however. Smith called it â€œnot a smart thing to fly it over a crowd like thatâ€ and suggested it could pose a safety concern.
Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the FAA, said no FAA authorization is needed to operate a model aircraft, â€œbut it must be operated safely and not pose a hazard to people or property on the ground.â€
â€œPeople must have FAA authorization to operate an unmanned aircraft system for commercial purposes,â€ Gregor said. â€œAn authorized commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval from the FAA. To date, two operations in the Arctic have met these criteria.â€