An unmanned drone knocked out of the air outside Staples Center on Friday night as L.A. Kings fans celebrated did not belong to Los Angeles police, despite reports to the contrary, department officials said.
“It was definitely not an LAPD device,” LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told The Times in an email. “We have not, and will not deploy Unmanned Aerial Systems until we get approval and protocols in place.”
Video of the drone hovering over crowds celebrating the Kings' Stanley Cup victory spread across the Internet over the weekend with reports that the drone was one of the LAPD’s Draganflyer X6 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, which the department received from Seattle police last month.
The video shows the white, square-shaped drone hovering more than 20 feet above the crowd. After a few moments, people in the crowd began throwing shirts, trash and plastic bottles at the device in an attempt to knock it down.
After about a minute, a T-shirt lands a hit and the drone drops to within arm’s reach of the crowd, which finishes the job. Video footage shows the drone getting pulled into the mass, where it was smashed to bits by a skateboard, according to the person who posted the video.
It was not immediately clear who was operating the drone.
Two weeks ago, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he would seek assistance from privacy and civil rights groups before he would consider using the two devices.
Although the department does not identify the unmanned aircraft as drones, officials said the machines would be useful during police standoffs, barricades or when officers are searching for suspects within a perimeter.
Even though the department has no official drone program, it does have other unmanned vehicles, including a remote-controlled robot, to inspect suspicious packages.
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