A swarm of hockey fans outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday knocked down a drone that was rumored to be used by the Los Angeles police for riot control.
The Los Angeles Times-described “melee” had gathered outside the arena in celebration of the 2014 Stanley Cup win for the Kings over the New York Rangers.
The crowd was apparently ecstatic at the possibility of taking down a police drone; one of several videos online that captured the scene shows people throwing cups, pieces of clothing and trash at the quadcopter before its flight was disrupted by a T-shirt, causing it to fall into the throng. Hundreds in the crowd cheered and people can be heard shouting, “We got the drone, we got the drone!” in this YouTube video.
Russia Today reported, and several others on Twitter added to the rumor mill, that the LAPD potentially lost one of two drones in their arsenal.
But the remotely piloted vehicle in the video likely wasn’t a police drone. The LAPD recently announced the arrival of the drones that were “gifted” from the Seattle Police Department, after their own drone use program was shut down. The drones they received were Draganflyer X6 drones, small hexacopters about three feet wide and capable of being outfitted with a range of sophisticated cameras.
The drone in the video looks much more like a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter, used widely by commercial and private operators.
It’s much more likely that one of the raucous fans brought along their personal drone to film the bruhaha, and ended up filming its fall from the sky.
In a press release from June 3, the police department said it would not fly its drones anytime soon.
“No decision has been made whether or not these vehicles will be used,” the LAPD said, adding that the public would have time to participate in a review process before the drones were used.
“They are currently in the custody of a Federal Law Enforcement Agency pending review by the LAPD and the Board of Police Commissioners, as well as the public,” the LAPD said. “The review would only consider narrow and prescribed uses to prevent imminent bodily harm, for example, a hostage situation or barricaded armed suspect. “
Here’s how DJI pitches their quadcopter for private use:
Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter