Sports riots are a common fixture after big games; winning or losing teams often take to the streets to express their pent-up emotion in rather destructive ways. But Californians got points for creativity after the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup last Friday, as hockey lovers filled the streets to introduce a new kind of post-game ritual: destroying a drone.
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According to reports, riot police were called to the Staples Center, where excited fans were causing a real ruckus. As what was believed to be an LAPD drone flew over the crowd, people began throwing shoes and clothes to knock it down. "The drone just got knocked out of the sky!" a spectator says in the video below, as others in the crowd cheer.
But not so fast. While the drone was widely reported as belonging to LAPD, it doesn't match the department's model. Though the drone's owner hasn't stepped forward, it's been speculated that it probably belonged to a fan who didn't anticipate how much fun the crowd would have using it as target practice.
As for legal repercussions, the drone operator could be fined for flying a device so close to a crowd and people who participated in its destruction could be charged as well. "In California, the punishment would be up to $10,000 and up to one year in county jail," reports Forbes. "Furthermore, throwing objects at a remote controlled helicopter that is otherwise safely flying above a crowd, clearly constitutes reckless conduct that creates a risk of physical injury to another, in most states that is punishable by a hefty fine and a jail sentence."
So far, only three people have been charged in relation to the LA Kings' victory riot: one for drunkenness and two for refusing to leave a restaurant. That's rather tame by sports standards, but LA fans may have just started a new post-game trend.