A Seattle Municipal Court jury on Friday convicted an Oak Harbor man of reckless endangerment for losing control of his drone at the Gay Pride Parade in 2015.
The jury of six reached the unanimous verdict against Paul M. Skinner after deliberating about two hours.
This week’s 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 Seattle Municipal Code defines the charge this way: “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 trial, Assistant City Prosecutor Raymond Lee and Assistant City Attorney Jeff Wolf called several witnesses to testify, including a woman who suffered a concussion when the drone struck her head and a man who suffered a minor bruise from the drone’s strike. Another witness positively identified Skinner as the man who retrieved the drone after it landed near Safeco Plaza on 4th Avenue.
Reckless endangerment, a gross misdemeanor, carries a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.