- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A professional photographer who knocked a woman unconscious with his camera-equipped drone while covering Seattle’s 2015 pride parade has been sentenced to 30 days in prison and ordered to pay a $500 fine.

Paul M. Skinner, 38, was sentenced by Judge Willie Gregory of the Seattle Municipal Court on Friday after being found guilty of reckless endangerment earlier this year over the June 28, 2015 “drone strike.”

Skinner, the founder and senior pilot of Vivid Aerial Ascent photography, claimed he never meant to collide his two pound, 18-by-18 inch drone into a downtown Seattle building that day, rendering the $1,200 aircraft inoperable and causing it strike a woman in the head and knocking her unconscious as it crashed to Earth.

Assistant City Prosecutor Raymond Lee said Seattle residents “should not fear a drone strike falling from the sky,” however, and accused the pilot of having knowingly “engaged in conduct that put people in danger of being injured.”

Skinner will remain free pending appeal, his attorney told the Seattle Times. A restitution hearing, meanwhile, has been scheduled for May 25 to determine how much money Skinner should pay towards his victim’s medical expenses.

The case marked the first time ever that the Seattle City Attorney’s Office has charged anyone with mishandling a drone in public, the newspaper reported.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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