When the Los Angeles Kings won the 2014 Stanley Cup Final last Friday, fans filtered out of Staples Center into the courtyard of LA Live to celebrate the night away.
Buzzing above the buzzing crowd: a robotic drone, keeping a technologically creepy eye on the revelry, as thousands of fans jammed the downtown area near the arena to listen to music and hug strangers and attempt to remember where they parked.
Obviously there’s only one sane, rational, not-at-all-fueled-by-libations reaction to seeing a flying camera dangling overhead:
KILL IT! KILL IT WITH SOUVENIR T-SHIRTS!!!
Here's the video of Kings fans taking down a drone that made a visit after the Game 5 win.
According to this YouTube clip, not only did the fans take out this aerial intruder with the precision of a Justin Williams wrist shot, they then produced to pummel it with a skateboard. Which is, come to think of it, a very LA reaction to the pending Robopocolypse.
What was this drone? Social media reports, one from TSN and a blaring headline from Business Insider claimed that the Kings fans took down an LAPD drone with their barrage of shirts that night, which would be generally frowned upon by law enforcement.
Many commenters wrongly concluded that the drone must have been operated by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as the department recently received two drones from the Seattle Police Department. However, a simple search of the internet indicates that the only two drones acquired by the Seattle Police Department were Draganflyer X6 UAVs, a system with six props mounted to three arms on a black frame. The drone in the video is clearly a white quadcopter, in fact the drone is white with stripes, meaning it is likely a DJI Phantom.
The drone wasn’t using a sophisticated spy camera, just a GoPro. So congratulations internet commenters and sloppy bloggers, you’ve proven you don’t know a thing about drones or how to use Google. And congratulations Kings fans, you managed to ruin another fan’s night and his $959 remote controlled helicopter, you also committed a crime.
McNeal believes that the person who knocked the drone out of the air could face “the punishment would be up to $10,000 and up to one year in county jail” for destruction of property and potential other penalties for endangering the crowd.
Of course, the person flying the drone over a few thousand people at a low altitude might also be liable.
In the end, there are really only two losers here: The small alien creature piloting this vessel (we'll assume) and the person who didn't get their drone-delivered Amazon.com shipment last weekend. Oh, and also the New York Rangers. Them too.