A Seattle Municipal Court jury has convicted an Oak Harbor man of reckless endangerment for losing control of his drone at the Gay Pride Parade in 2015, according to an announcement released by the City of Seattle.
On Friday, after deliberating for about two hours, a jury of six reached the unanimous verdict against Paul M. Skinner.
According to the Seattle Police Department, a 25-year-old woman was “knocked unconscious” by a 2-lb. drone that “crashed into a building and fell into the crowd” at the June 2015 parade. She was then caught by her boyfriend as she “fell to the ground” and was treated by an off-duty firefighter.
The four-day trial before Judge Willie Gregory marked the first time the city attorney’s office charged anyone with mishandling a drone in public, the announcement says.
The Seattle Municipal Code defines the charge as follows: “A person is guilty of reckless endangerment when he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person.”
At the trial, Raymond Lee, assistant city prosecutor, and Jeff Wolf, assistant city attorney, called several witnesses to testify, including the woman, who suffered a concussion when the drone struck her head, and a man who suffered a minor bruise from the drone’s falling. Another witness positively identified Skinner as the man who retrieved the drone after it landed near Safeco Plaza on 4th Ave.
Reckless endangerment – a gross misdemeanor – carries a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine, the city says.