A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

UK: "Gang" of pre-teens aiming laser at passing motorists

A group of eight to ten youths, aged around 10-12 years old, aimed a green laser pointer at motorists on August 2 2017 in Keresley, which is about five miles north of Coventry.

Passers-by saw the youths — described as a “gang” in a news report — and reported them to a passing member of the Bedworth Safer Neighborhood Team. An officer from the team said SNT is investigating the “potentially very dangerous” pranks. The officer also said “I would ask parents if these were their children to have a serious word with them.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or the confidential Crimestoppers hotline, 0800 555 111.

From the Coventry Telegraph

UK: Man assaulted with laser pen, falls, requires surgery

A man in his 40s, who was walking his dog in Weymouth, Dorset, was assaulted by another man who aimed a green laser pen into the dog’s eyes. This “caused the dog to bolt forward and aggravated an existing back injury the victim had received.” The victim fell down, and the attacker then aimed the laser into the man’s eyes.

Police said that the victim “is likely to have to undergo surgery to repair damage caused to his back following this incident.”

The attack happened at about 9:20 pm on April 23 2017. Police did not release details until May 4.

From the Dorset Echo

Mexico: Laser aimed at NFL quarterback during game

A green laser was aimed multiple times at the helmet and face of Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, during a National Football League game played November 21 2016 in Mexico City. Here are two photos taken of the same play, from different vantage points:

Brock Osweiler laser 02

Brock Osweiler laser 01

The first incident happened near the end of the second quarter of play. When the game resumed after halftime, the laser was again aimed onto the field about two minutes into the third quarter, on running back Lamar Miller:

Lamar Miller laser 01

According to analyst John Harris of HoustonTexans.com, “The Texans security spent nearly the entire first half trying to find the culprit in the North end zone. There were state and city police in that end zone for most of the rest of the half. I don’t know if they ever found anyone….”

After the game, Osweiler was asked about the laser interference: “There were multiple times I saw a green laser coming from the stands. There were a couple of times it definitely hit me in the eye. And it was very noticeable…. Certainly, having a laser zoomed in on your eyeball definitely affects how you play.”

Click to read more...

US: Multi-car crash due to laser being aimed at driver

A woman driving on Interstate 5 in Oregon was dazzled by a green laser beam aimed by the driver of another car. This led to a three-car crash causing body damage to the vehicles. There were no reported injuries due to the crash or the laser light.

The accident occurred at about 5:30 am on October 25 2016. Miranda Senters, 18, was driving her new car, bought one week prior, when the driver in front of her aimed a green laser beam over his shoulder towards her. Senters told KGW News “I just kept going back and forth a little bit, trying to keep out of the light.” The laser driver then went behind Senters’ car and aimed into the rear-view mirror: “…he’s shining it from the back of me into my eyes and I couldn’t see.”

Senters tried to get away but the other driver weaved in and out of lanes to keep up with her. While trying to avoid the light, Senters swerved to the shoulder and spun out. The other car crashed into her. A third driver hit a barrier when trying to avoid the stopped vehicles.

The laser car, an older Honda Civic, left the scene. In an Instagram post, state police asked the public to help them find the Civic.

laser car crash Oregon i-5 I5 Senter
State police photo showing Senters’ car with driver side damage, at the scene on Interstate 5.


Senters later told KPTV “He had a little laser and was trying to get it through my front window. I went blind because a green laser light — like my eyes still hurt from that, I can still see it…. I don’t understand how it’s a joke. It could have killed me.”

From KGW and KPTV. Thank you to George Palikaras for bringing this to our attention.

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: This is the first well-documented case we’re aware of where a laser pointer aimed at a driver directly caused a crash. There was a fatal crash in 1998 which was partially blamed on a laser pointer, and an indirect reference to a three-car accident in 1999. There have also been a number of near-accidents and other car-related laser incidents which are listed here.

Italy: Prosecutor investigating manslaughter charges in three cases of eye damage to children from laser pointers

In three separate cases, children in the area of Bologna have suffered eye damage caused by laser pointers.

The cases were reported in mid-September 2015 by the St. Ursula Ophthalmology Hospital in Bologna. One of the children was 10; the other two were 13.

The injuries were caused by laser pointers bought by their parents (in two cases) or grandmother (in the third case) in markets in Florence or Bologna. One child had a slight loss of vision, another had significant loss in both eyes, and a third has almost lost his sight and is legally blind.

A public prosecutor, Valter Giovannini, has opened an investigation for aggravated manslaughter against unknown assailants. This seems to indicate that in all three cases, the laser pointer bought by or for the children was used against them by another person.

As a result of the report, Carabinieri NAS (Nuclei Antisofisticazioni e Sanità or “Anti Fraud Squad”), a special police force operating under the Italian ministry of health, seized fifteen illegally-sold laser pointers.

The hospital warned the public not to purchase green laser pointers sold “on the street, in the stalls and fairs.” A spokesperson said higher-powered pointers such as those aimed at players in stadiums were to be avoided. Professional laser pointers used in lectures should not be a problem.

From Corriere di Bologna. Thanks to Alberto Kellner Ongaro for bringing this to our attention.

US: Paparazzi call police after Jennifer Garner's bodyguard aims a laser pointer at them

A bodyguard for Jennifer Garner aimed a green laser pointer at paparazzi photographers, who then called police. The August 11 2015 incident occurred at about 11:20 am in the small town of Covington, Georgia (pop. 13,347; 35 miles southeast of Atlanta) where the movie star was filming “Miracles from Heaven.”

According to the Covington News, the photographers told police that the laser light could possibly damage their camera sensors; they also “complained of headaches and said their eyes were starting to dilate.” Emergency medical responders told them “to take Tylenol for their headache.”

Because the local District Attorney’s office said that using a laser pointer was not a criminal offense (except when aimed at a law enforcement office or airplane), the photographers were told that it was a civil matter. No criminal charges were filed.

From the Covington News

Wales: Laser from shore delays lifeboat sea rescue

A lifeboat crew member was temporarily blinded by a laser aimed from shore, during a rescue operation to tow a catamaran to safety in choppy seas. The August 2 2015 incident took place off the Vale of Glamorgan coast, southeast of the town of Porthcawl in South Wales.

A green beam was repeatedly aimed at both of Porthcawl’s lifeboats during the rescue of the crew and the catamaran. The helmsman “was able to recover his vision and resume the operation soon after,” according to a news account.

South Wales police were called to the scene by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Porthcawl, but did not find the perpetrator. They are asking the public for any information.

From Wales Online

US: Tennessee man "nearly causes accident' aiming laser pointer at cars on Interstate

A 34-year-old Chattanooga (TN) man was arrested for aiming a green laser pointer at vehicles on Interstate 75.

A motorist called 911 to report that a male in the front passenger seat of a silver Honda was shining the laser onto cars and trucks. The caller said the laser made it difficult to see, and almost caused a crash involving an 18-wheel truck and another vehicle. The Honda was traveling northbound on I-75 in Bradley County, east of Chattanooga.

Officers located the car, where Gary Dewayne Couey admitted aiming the laser at other vehicles. He was arrested on a charge of felony reckless endangerment. The driver of the car, 34-year-old Brandi Rapier, was charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

Gary Dewayne Couey laser
Gary Dewayne Couey


From WDEF, the Chattanoogan, and the Times Free Press

US: Two more laser pointer incidents at U.S. football games

In the week after widespread publicity when a laser was aimed at NFL Buffalo Bills players on Sunday October 5 2014, two other U.S. football-related incidents made the news. It is not known if these incidents were copycats, or were unrelated but were judged more newsworthy in the aftermath of the NFL case.

Hawaii college game interrupted by laser pointer


On Saturday October 11 2014, a football game between the University of Hawaii and the University of Wyoming was interrupted in the fourth quarter. A green laser light had been spotted on the field near Wyoming’s quarterback.

The referee stopped the game announced over the public address speakers, “There's a member of the stadium that has a laser pointer that continues to shine in the eyes of the offensive players. We're currently seeking game management and security to resolve that situation." The person was not found.

University of Hawaii officials said they believe the laser was more powerful than classroom pointers, which legally are limited to 5 milliwatts.

Under Hawaii Revised Statues, Chapter 136, no one under the age of 18 is allowed to possess a laser pointer. Shining a laser at a person can lead to up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

University of Hawaii athletics director Ben Jay was asked by KHON if he knew of any previous laser pointer incident. Jay told the TV station, “To my knowledge ... it really hasn’t happened at a college football game in recent memory that I can recall. But I think the spate of some of the recent NFL games that have been affected by lasers probably prompted this person to do such a really idiotic act.”

There may have been another laser pointer at the game, as well. A person in the press box told KHON he saw a red light “dancing for about two seconds or so .... which means there were probably at least two laser pointers used at game time.”

A spokesperson for the Mountain West athletic conference said he was not aware of any other laser incidents at Mountain West venues. The 12-college conference oversees intercollegiate sports including baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. He told KITV, “We have already communicated with all appropriate parties within the Conference to take whatever measures necessary to address and eliminate the use of laser pointers.”

Aloha Stadium officials said they would step up bag checks but that finding laser pointers on entering fans would be difficult.

From KHON2.com (story 1 and follow-up story 2) and KITV.com

Michigan high school game delayed due to laser pointer


On Friday October 10 2014, a football game between Walled Lake Western high school and Walled Lake Central high school was delayed for more than 10 minutes in the second quarter. A laser pointer was used to distract Walled Lake Western players during the game. According to MLive.com, “Play was stopped for an extended period of time as officials, police officers and other members of the school's security staff gathered to discuss the matter and attempt to put a stop to it. The culprit was not located, though no further issues arose involving a laser pointer.”

Walled Lake, Michigan is about 26 miles northwest of Detroit’s Ford Field, where the October 5 2014 laser pointer incident occurred during an NFL game between the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills. Walled Lake is also 6 miles southwest of West Bloomfield Township, where Mark (or Marko) Beslach lives; he is the Detroit fan identified by ESPN and ABC News as the person who used the laser during the NFL game and was subsequently banned indefinitely from Ford Field.

Map of Detroit area
Map showing Walled Lake, West Bloomfield Township, and Detroit in relation to each other


From MLive.com

US: UPDATED - NFL fan banned from Detroit games, faces charge for aiming laser at football players

The NFL football fan who shined a green laser pointer beam at two players on October 5 2014, has been “banned indefinitely from attending all future events at Ford Field,” according to an October 9 press release from the Detroit Lions football team.

In addition, the person was charged with disorderly conduct by the Detroit City Prosecutor’s Office. This is a misdemeanor and would require payment of a small fine ($50, according to WSJM.com).

Finally, the Ford Field season ticket holder whose tickets were used by the laser-wielding person has had his tickets revoked for the remainder of the 2014 football season (e.g., five regular season home games).

In the October 9 press release, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand wrote “[T]his occurrence was unique in that it could have affected the integrity of the game and more importantly could have jeopardized player safety.”

The Lions’ statement did not name the individual. Detroit city attorney Melvin Hollowell identified the person as a 17-year-old from the Detroit-area township of West Bloomfield, Michigan.

ESPN reported that the person was “Mark Beslach”, ABC News reported he was “Marko Beslach, a recent high-school graduate.”

Marko Beslach ABC News laser pointer Lions Bills Orton
The person identified as Marko Beslach by ABC News on its program “World News Tonight”


In a statement to the press, Lewand was asked if the season-ticket holder was the youth’s father. Lewand declined to give specifics but did say there was a close relationship between the laser perpetrator and the ticket holder.

A person with the account “Marko Beslach” tweeted before and after the game on October 5, about having a laser pointer and having used it on Buffalo Bills quarterback Kyle Orton. The tweet was later deleted, but not before a screenshot was recorded.

Lewand said the tweets were part of how they found the perpetrator: “I certainly don’t think he did himself any favors by talking about it.”

The Lions said that stadium security and operations staffs worked with team security, NFL security, and Detroit Police to find and penalize the perpetrator.

The ban will be implemented, according to Lewand, using technologies such as paperless ticketing, camera monitoring systems and identification processes. If the ban was violated, the person would be prosecuted for trespassing.

Lewand also noted that ticket holders who sell their tickets are responsible for the behavior of the buyers. The sellers could lose their rights to tickets if the buyer causes problems.

Laser pointers are banned from all 32 NFL stadiums.

From the Detroit Lions press release, ESPN, ABC News, WSJM.com and FOX Sports. For details about the original incident, and the initial reports about the Marko Beslach tweets, see this LaserPointerSafety.com story.

UPDATED - October 10 2014: News source MLive.com reported that the father of the laser-wielding youth has asked for police protection due to harassment from Buffalo Bills fans. Details are in this LaserPointerSafety.com story.

UPDATED - June 29 2015: Marko Beslach in November 2014 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He was fined $235, had to do 80 hours of community service, and was given a one-year suspended sentence. He will have his case reviewed November 23 2015. From the Detroit Free Press.

Australia: Lasers on rugby player in Argentina leads league to investigate

The SANZAR rugby organization said they will try to crack down on incidents of lasers being pointed at players.

The October 6 2014 statement came after Wallabies player Mike Harris had multiple red and green lasers aimed at him during a match in Argentina. He made seven of eight goals, missing one after he complained to the referee about laser harassment.

Wallabies laser Argentina
Screen capture shows a laser beam on Harris’ head during the match


Lasers were also aimed at Wallabies players during other games between the Australian and Argentine teams.

Harris seemed resigned to the situation, saying "I guess it is something a bit different and part and parcel of playing in Argentina. There's not much you can do so you've just got to move on.”

The Wallabies’ coach, Robbie Deans, also seemed to dismiss the laser louts: “Obviously, it [the use of lasers] was not ideal but it was not a major element and was resolved very quickly.”

SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters said the organization would investigate.

An unscientific poll of readers at the Green and Gold Rugby website, for Wallabies supporters asked about consequences of pointing lasers at players. The results after being up for about a day:

poll green and gold rugby laser


From the Courier-Mail and greenandgoldrugby.com. SANZAR stands for ‘South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby”

US: UPDATED - Laser aimed at NFL team quarterback, holder

Someone in the stands of an American football game aimed a laser pointer at players on October 5 2014.

The game was between the Buffalo Bills (visitors) and the Detroit Lions (home team). The laser pointer was aimed at Bills holder Colton Schmidt just before an unsuccessful 50-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter. Kicker Dan Carpenter was upset after the kick, talking to a referee until officials told him to return to the sideline. WIVB TV reported that the referee could be seen mouthing the words “No, I didn’t see it” to Carpenter.

In a post-game press conference, Bills coach Doug Marrone said the issue was resolved before the end of the game. He characterized the laser incident as less of a distraction and more of a motivator for Carpenter, who won the game with a successful 58-yard field goal with four seconds left to play.
Click to read more...

US: UPDATED: Laser said to cause serious eye injury at Burning Man 2014

A woman was blinded by a laser at the Burning Man art and technology festival, according to a September 5 2014 post by Richard W. DeVaul, head of Google’s Rapid Evaluation Team.

DeVaul’s colleague was working as a volunteer when she was struck in the left eye by a “high-power, hand-held green laser, most likely a 1W 532 nm toy from China”.

Burning Man took place August 25 through September 1, 2014, at Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. As of the September 5 post, DeVaul said the woman “still has not regained vision in her left eye and it is possible that she never will.”
Click to read more...

UK: Laser light forces motorist to stop; police looking for perpetrator

Police are looking for the person who aimed a bright green laser at motorists in the Devon-area seaside resort town of Torquay, between about 9:00 and 9:05 pm on September 1 2014.

According to police, “We are investigating an incident of causing danger to road users under the Road Traffic Act. A motorist was going around the roundabout near the Pavilion and a green laser light was shone directly in his eyes, causing him to stop his vehicle. We are appealing to the public. Were you around at that time? Did you see the incident? Were you subject to someone shining a laser light on you?”

From the Herald Express

US: Florida man buys laser pointer; arrested hours later for aiming at motorists, officer

A Florida man was arrested for aiming a green laser pointer at motorists -- and eventually at a Daytona Beach Shores officer -- at about 12:30 am on June 16 2014. When told he had committed a felony, the man apologized to the officer, who accepted the apology. Nonetheless, Walter Nevarez, 22, of Lakeland, was charged with pointing a laser light at a driver or pilot.

Pic 2014-08-18 at 4.21.48 PM
Walter Nevarez


Nevarez had purchased the laser earlier in the evening. Riding as a passenger in his girlfriend’s car, he began aiming the laser at oncoming cars, including the officer’s car.

After later told a reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal that he did not know it was illegal to misuse a laser pointer. He said he had been pointing it at a treeline and did not intend it to shine it at anyone’s eyes.

A defense attorney quoted by the newspaper said “If you are going to criminalize the conduct or behavior, then the government needs to explain and make the public aware why their action poses a potential danger.”

From the Daytona Beach News-Journal

US: Man arrested for aiming laser at drivers

A 21-year-old was arrested February 26 2014 for aiming a green laser into cars the night before. The incidents occurred in Newton, Massachusetts.

The unnamed man was charged with disorderly conduct and with assault and battery. Although there were also two reports of a green laser being aimed from the Newton area at aircraft, the man was not charged or associated directly with those incidents.

A hearing is scheduled for March 25 in Newton District Court.

From the Boston Globe

Romania: Report of eye injury from Class 4 laser

LaserPointerSafety.com has received a report of an eye injury caused by a green (532nm) Class 4 laser of approximately 1 watt output.

The injured person is from Romania. He was hit in the left eye for 1 second or less from a distance of about 2 feet (~60 cm). He saw a dot in the center of his left eye and could not read properly with that eye. He went to an eye doctor who said there was a small retinal burn. After four days he said the vision improved a bit. He was scheduled for a follow-up exam one month after the injury date.

He asked LaserPointerSafety.com about any possible outcome and treatment. Experts we consulted said his symptoms and vision will probably improve. They suggested a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or indomethcin. More aggressive treatment such as steroids (orally or injected into the eye) have been done with “often good” results. The side effects of steroids should be considered. They also indicated that the follow-up examination is important.

The laser was marked “<3000mW”, “Wavelength 532nm +/-10” and “Class IIIb Laser Product”. The label is incorrect, since Class IIIb is between 5 and 500 mW. A laser that is in the thousands of milliwatts would be Class 4.

The laser appears to be a “JD-303” from China; a link is here. The cost is US $5-7 per laser in a minimum order of 30 pieces. (They can supply up to 20,000 lasers per week.) It has a nominal power of 1 watt. The Alibaba web site does say “This is not a toy for your children, this is a high intensity laser pointer for adults only!”

Pic 2014-04-02 at 11.26.09 AM
Excerpt from the webpage for the laser believed to have caused the injury


Thanks to Leon McLin and Bruce Stuck for their assistance in this case.

Romania: Lionel Messi targeted with laser at soccer match

Football (US: soccer) superstar Lionel Messi was targeted by a green laser pointer during a match between Argentina and Romania taking place at the National Arena in Bucharest. A Daily Mail newspaper story mentioning the incident did not indicate whether the light entered Messi's eye or otherwise interfered with his play.

Messi laser soccer
Messi is lit up by a laser near his face


From the Daily Mail

US: Man targets soccer player with laser; injures policeman during arrest

A 20-year-old man used a green laser pointer to harass persons playing soccer indoors in Naperville, Illinois, on December 22 2013. When confronted by an officer, Raul Marquez resisted arrest and injured the officer’s shoulder.

According to police, Marquez was causing a disturbance by shining a green laser in the eyes of persons at Players Indoor Sports Center. He was not on either team and police do not know why he was at the game. No injuries were reported by any of the targeted soccer players.

Marquez, a convicted burglar, was charged with felony resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury and two counts of disorderly conduct/breach of peace.

From the Naperville Sun

UK: Football fan arrested after aiming laser at Chelsea manager

An unnamed man was reportedly arrested in West London for aiming a green laser pen at Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, and Chelsea players, during a December 11 2013 Champions League match with Steaua Bucharest.

The game was held in Chelsea’s home stadium at Stamford Bridge. The laser appeared to come from the “away” end of the stadium. An announcement was made, in English and Romanian, warning the fans to stop using the laser.

Ashley Cole laser
Chelsea player Ashley Cole has laser light aimed onto his face


The manager told reporters the laser did not unduly affect him: “I can’t worry about that during the game. I don’t know if it can create problems or not. But during the game I felt it a couple of times. I felt the green, I felt no pain.”

Chelsea went on to win the match 1-0.

From SuperSport, the London Evening Standard and VitalFootball.co.uk

US: Referee stops ACC championship football game due to laser pointer on quarterback

The Atlantic Coast Conference college football championship game on December 7 2013 was stopped briefly after a green laser pointer was aimed at the helmet of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

The light, coming from the player’s left side, briefly hit his eye area. It probably did not enter his pupil due to the side angle. Here is an image captured from video.

Jameis Winston Florida quarterback laser pointer football 01

The laser was aimed primarily at his helmet:

Jameis Winston Florida quarterback laser pointer football 02

The referee stopped the game, announcing over the public address system “There is a laser being pointed on the field from the stands. It needs to be stopped with security please. Take a look at section 343.”

From CollegeSpun.com

UK: Bus driver treated at hospital after laser pen attack

A bus driver in South Shields, in the northeast of England, had a green laser pen aimed into his eyes by a youth standing with a group of teens by the roadside. The driver, temporarily dazzled, said it was like looking at a very bright lightbulb. According to police, “The driver’s vision is now improving after hospital treatment, however, this was a potentially dangerous situation and could have caused a crash.” The South Shields Police are investigating to find the perpetrator of the July 12 2013 attack.

From the Shields Gazette

Australia: Lasers aimed at drivers; perpetrators warned

Green laser beams, thought to be from one or more youths, were aimed at truck drivers and at police following up on telephoned reports, in Boambee East, New South Wales on May 4 2013. The incidents occurred around 10:30 pm. Police warned that perpetrators could face a fine of up to AUS $5000 if they have lasers above 1 milliwatt in public without a valid reason.

From the Coffs Coast Advocate

Canada: B.C. driver said to have possible eye damage from green laser

A woman driving in the left lane on Highway 1 in Abbotsford, B.C., reported that she was passed on the right side by a grayish Audi. The Audi pulled in front of her and a male passenger stood up through the sunroof, spat on the workman’s windshield, then sat down and aimed a green laser through the back window at the woman. The Audi then sped off.

The RCMP said the woman may have suffered unspecified eye damage in the February 27 2013 assault. They asked for the public’s assistance in finding the female driver and male passenger of the Audi.

From The Province

US: Man says laser aimed 1/4 mile away caused retinal injury

A San Francisco man says a laser beam aimed from a distance of 1/4 mile caused a permanent injury in his right eye in December 2012. He now uses a magnifying glass, and a computer keyboard with larger letters to do his job.

Tris Thomson laser eye injury

Tris Thomson of San Francisco was in the Mexican Riviera on a sailboat at sunset, when someone in an apartment building aimed a green laser at the boat. Thomson felt “a slight bit of pain in the eyeball. A little searing, like almost you get burnt real quickly or something,” he told KTVU TV, which reported that an “eye x-ray” showed a black blotch on his retina.

The news story quoted ophthalmologist Dr. Vineet Batra as saying that he “sees patients injured by laser pointers about once a month.”

From KTVU.com. For an analysis of this case by LaserPointerSafety.com, click the “Read More…” link. Thanks to Capt. Dan Hewett of the FDA/CDRH for bringing this to our attention, and to Greg Makhov of LSDI for assistance with the analysis.

Click to read more...

US: UPDATED - St. Louis teen given probation for Aug 2012 lasing of baseball players

A 17-year-old who aimed a laser at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball player and manager in an August 6 2012 incident, pleaded guilty on December 14 to disturbing the peace at an athletic event. As part of a plea agreement announced January 4 2013, Eric Bogard was sentenced to six months probation, 20 hours of community service, and paying $500 restitution to the Cardinals. If he remains on good behavior, his arrest record will be expunged; otherwise he would have a permanent record and could be jailed.

The plea agreement dropped a second charge of using a laser beam to harass or annoy another person. He could have been fined up to $500 and been jailed for between 30 and 90 days (sources differ as to the maximum sentence for this offense).

Bogard’s lawyer said his client made “an extreme error in judgement”. He also said that Bogard was not the person “who actually did most of the harassing [and] disturbing the peace.”

A St. Louis official said the plea agreement had been cleared with the baseball Cardinals.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Additional information is at LaserPointerSafety.com’s original story. It includes an August 17 update about the resignation of the person who controlled the stadium suite where the laser pointer misuse originated.

US: Teen partially blinded in one eye due to laser pointer

A 13-year-old Indianapolis-area boy lost part of the central vision in his left eye, after he shined a green laser pointer into a mirror and looked into the beam. Ross Vanderpool received the laser, whose power is unknown, in the summer of 2012 from a friend who bought it in Italy. He enjoyed playing with the laser. But the morning after looking directly into the beam, he woke up with a black dot in his vision. Vanderpool told a reporter about the vision loss: “If I close my right eye and look straight, I can’t see your nose, but I can see your mouth and earrings.”

Retinal specialist Dr. Ramana Moorthy saw a “yellowish kind of spot here with yellow black flecks [that] shouldn’t be there.” She said the injury was permanent. The boy’s father said he considered the laser pointer a toy, and that he had no idea that laser light was dangerous. He said other parents should throw away their children’s pointers.

From WTHR.com. Thanks to Jochen Pernsteiner for bringing this to our attention.

Egypt: Protesters shine laser pointers during civil unrest

During December 2012 protests in Cairo against Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi, laser pointers were used. A photo from Reuters shows at least two pointers in the crowd:

Egypt laser pointer protest

A France 24 reporter said “dozens” of demonstrators in a crowd of 10,000 were aiming lasers at windows in the presidential palace, as part of efforts to “make sure Morsi notices” the protesters.

According to Times Live, in one demonstration three persons were shot dead and 350 others were wounded. There were no reports of injuries due to the laser pointer attacks.

A separate report in Bikyamasr.com about November 2011 demonstrations recounted accusations that Egyptian army snipers were aiming green lasers at Tahir Square demonstrators. The website confirmed that green lasers were present, but “as of [this] writing” could not confirm the snipers.

From Times Live, France 24, and Bikyamasr.com

US: UPDATED - Teen arrested for lasing at Cardinals baseball game

A 17-year-old fan wielding a laser pointer at a major league baseball game was identified by a manager, and was arrested on a charge of “peace disturbance at an athletic event,” a misdemeanor. The Cardinals-Giants game took place August 6 2012 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny saw a green dot on the pitcher’s mound in the bottom of the seventh inning. He saw the teen in a luxury suite near the first base line and mouthed “I see you” to him. The boy then aimed the laser over Matheny’s head. Security followed the teen and two of his friends as they tried to ditch the laser pointer in a trash can; it was later recovered. The boy was apprehended and spent a few hours in jail. The Cardinals will also take action against the owners of the suite where the teens sat.

Police said they would seek criminal charges against the unidentified teen.

Giants’ pitcher Shane Loux said he did not see the laser light, although a teammate said he saw green light on Loux’s face.

The Cardinals’ director of security said lasing a player can be dangerous because of the possibility of blinding and because “when you go into what's been going on in the country right now, it's totally irresponsible to pretend you've got laser sights on somebody."

From KMOV, Examiner.com, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

UPDATE August 8 2012: The teen was identified as Eric Bogard, a high-school student in Ladue, “the wealthiest inner-ring suburb of St. Louis” according to the city’s Wikipedia entry. Bogard’s lawyer said the laser was never directly pointed at anyone and that Bogard was part of “kids in the box acting foolish. Acting like kids.” The lawyer said Bogard “regrets his actions.”

Bogard was originally charged with disturbing the peace at an athletic event. This carries a fine of $25 to $500 and up to 30 days in jail. On August 8, he was also charged with violating the harassment section of a 1999 ordinance regulating laser use and possession. The section states “It shall be unlawful for any person to focus, point or shine laser beam directly or indirectly on another person or animal in such a manner as to harass, annoy or injure such person or animal.” This carries a fine of $50 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail. From Fox2Now, KSDK and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Eric Bogard laser
Eric Bogard, via Fox2Now


UPDATE 2, August 17 2012: The stadium suite was used by a Mercy Health System executive. She resigned her position after publicity about the incident, during which she was confrontational with stadium authorities. With regard to the teen, Eric Bogard, police say there is “no additional movement” in the case. From the Creve Coeur Patch.

Ukraine: Laser aimed at French players during Euro 2012 match

During a Euro 2012 football (soccer) match on June 15 between France and Ukraine, French player Samir Nasri appeared to have a green laser aimed at his face. It happened as he was taking a corner kick in the 49th minute of the match. From accounts of the match, it did not seem to adversely affect Nasri’s kick or his play.

Later, after France won 2-0, a green laser was aimed at the chest of France’s Adil Rami as he celebrated the victory:

Adil Rami laser


Story from the Daily Mail, photo from Daylife. Thanks to Tim Cooper for bringing this to our attention, as well as “Boatbuilder”.

France: UPDATED - Kanye West calls out concertgoer for hitting him with a laser

Kanye West interrupted a June 2 2012 concert in Paris to berate an audience member who shined a green laser at the singer.

In a fan video posted to YouTube, West began a song that used theatrical lasers (e.g., part of his show). A few seconds into the song, West abruptly stopped and pointed into the audience. He angrily said “You see this guy right here with the green laser? Don't f**k with everybody's show. This is not a fucking game.” The laser was apparently aimed at West again, who said “You're going to get f**ked up and kicked out, I don't want that sh*t. So chill the f**k out.” During the incident, the crowd booed the concert-disrupting laser.

From ABC News, Huffington Post, and other sources. Another YouTube video taken by a fan is here.

UPDATE June 12 2012: Kanye West similarly berated an audience member who threw a coin on stage during a June 9 concert in Dublin. West stopped in the middle of a song and said “Start again… I ain't trying to make excuses but y'all threw a f*cking coin up here and threw me all the way off. Don't throw that hard sh*t up here while I'm performing. Seriously. You f*cked it up for everybody, I was having a perfect show. Flawless victory. Don't throw no sh*t on the stage." From Ology.com.

US: Again, laser hits San Diego harbor officer who goes to hospital

For the second time in a month, a green laser pointer was aimed at a San Diego Harbor Police boat, sending an officer to the hospital. On May 23 2012, a young adult partying on the beach pointed a laser pointer at the boat, which was about 1/2 mile offshore. An officer was hit by a “powerful” beam. Ground units scaled down cliffs to apprehend the man. He said he did not realize the hazard and did not know he had done an illegal act. The man was issued a citation for intentionally lasing the boat.

A Harbor Police spokesperson told LaserPointerSafety.com “neither officer was injured in the latest incident” and “the laser used in this incident was much less powerful than the one used” in the May 4 2012 lasing, when two San Diego Harbor Police officers were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center after their boat was lased. One officer was said to have had a temporary injury in one eye.

2012-05 San Diego incident locations
Approximate locations of the lasers (green triangles) and Harbor Police boats (red squares).


From 10news.com

US: UPDATED - San Diego harbor officers injured by laser

Two San Diego Harbor Police officers were injured by a green laser beam, while on routine patrol in Point Loma, at about 8:30 pm May 4 2012.

Officers Jennifer McMaster and Robert Twardy were patrolling near the Shelter Island Fishing Pier when both illuminated directly in their right eye. Twardy said “I noticed that I had a bright spot, like a residual flash that you kind of get when a camera flashes in your eye.” He suffered a “burning sensation”. Both officers were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center.

Twardy said that McMaster had a more direct hit, was in pain, and complained of blindness. She had possible burns to her retinas, and took time off to recover, according to the Los Angeles Times. She will make a full recovery, according to an NBC San Diego story. [See Update 1, at the bottom of this story after clicking the “Read More” link, for more medical information.]
Click to read more...

Canada: UPDATED - Laser beams aimed at police during St. Patrick's Day riot

During a riot in London, Ontario, fire crews and police were attacked with thrown objects, as well as police having laser beams aimed at their eyes.

The 5-hour confrontation began the evening of March 17 2012. St. Patrick’s Day parties “spilled into the street” in an area near Fanshawe College. The crowd grew to about 1,000 people. A brush fire was started, and a CTV news truck was set on fire. To slow fire crews, some persons threw beer bottles, bricks, wooden planks, tires, rim and other debris. In addition, said London’s police chief, “members of the crowd used laser pointers aimed at our officers’ eyes to try to disrupt our response.” A spectator said that the crowd, made up primarily of students, “wanted to egg on the police.”

Pic 2012-03-20 at 10.18.01 AM
A person aims a laser during the London, Ontario riot. From a photo gallery at
The Star.

Pic 2012-03-20 at 10.12.57 AM
From the
Toronto Sun. This is possibly the same laser beam; note glow from fire to the left, behind the officers.

The full extent of the laser misuse is not known. While the police chief indicated there were multiple lasers involved, the National Post said “One rioter attempted to blind the officers with a high-powered green laser.” Media reviewed by LaserPointerSafety.com found a single laser being used in each photo or video. Although some bystanders and police suffered minor injuries from thrown objects during the rioting, there were no reports of laser-caused eye effects or injuries. Eleven persons were arrested at the scene; charges included assaulting police. It is not known if any laser assault charges were brought.



In the video above, green laser light can be seen on a student, beginning at about 1:48. At 1:52, a single beam is shown being waved around at approximate head level. From 1:59 to 2:05, the beam is rapidly scanned towards stationary police officers who are monitoring the crowd. The beam in the video appears to come from the same person or area as shown in the photos above.

Similar riots occurred in the same area of Fleming Drive in 2007 and 2009, blamed on a high concentration of alcohol-fueled Fanshawe students. The 2012 riot is expected to cost London $100,000 in manpower and repair costs.

From CBC News, Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, The Star, and the National Post. Thanks to Mathieu Gauthier for helping bring this to our attention.

UPDATED, April 20 2012: Thirty-eight people are facing a total of 85 charges in the incident, thus far. Brian Nuccitelli, 18, faces three charges including two relating to misuse of a laser pointer: “possessing a weapon dangerous to public peace” and “assaulting a police officer with a weapon”. Police said the pointer was aimed at officers’ faces. They said “one officer was injured and continues to receive medical attention as the result of the laser being directed at his eyes.” In addition to Nuccitelli, police are also looking for another person who aimed a laser at officers. From lfpress.com

US: UPDATED - Parent at HS game aims laser at opposing team; charged with disturbing the peace

A parent aimed a green laser pointer into the eyes of players on a high school hockey team, possibly helping defeat the team. The parent was made to leave and was later banned from attending future sporting events. No charges have been brought as of March 1 2012.

On February 29, a Division I girls’ hockey playoff game took place in the Boston-area town of Winthrop, Mass. Parents of the Medway-Ashland team told FOX 25 TV news that a Winthrop parent was using a laser pointer “through the game” and especially in the third period. School officials noticed the laser and escorted the parent out.

Winthrop’s athletic director said no players were hit by the laser “as far as he knew.” FOX 25 reported that the pointer did go into the eyes of players, and that a Medway-Ashland goalie reportedly had headaches after the game.

The laser could have affected the score, since Medway-Ashland had been leading early in the third period, but Winthrop came back in the final minutes to win 3-1. M-A parents wanted like the game replayed, and the coach claimed that five or six M-A players said they were distracted by the laser during the game. Winthrop’s athletic director denied that the laser had any effect on the score. The game will be reviewed but the TV news reported that “it is unlikely the outcome will be reversed.”

From FOX 25 News and Wicked Local Medway We have put up a special page here at LaserPointerSafety.com which gives additional facts and informed commentary about this case.

UPDATE, March 2 2012:
  • The superintendent of Winthrop schools wants criminal charges filed against the laser-pointing dad. The official has turned a videotape of the game over to police.
  • The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association says the game will stand. MIAA issued a letter denying an appeal by Medway-Ashland parents, based on referees saying the game was fair.
  • CBS WBZ-TV quoted Medway-Ashland goalie Kathryn Hamer as saying “It’s kind of like when you look at the sun and then you look away you see that spot and you can’t see for a couple of seconds. You shake your head and try to get it out of your system and just keep focusing, but it’s difficult.” Hamer and her father said the laser directly affected her ability to defend against Winthrop’s first goal.

From FOX 25 News and CBS Boston

UPDATE 2, March 3 2012: FOX 25 is reporting that a laser pointer was used in a similar way during in a game one year ago against Winthrop. A former coach of the Wilmington High School girls’ hockey team says the 8th grade goalie complained about the laser pointer being flashed in her eyes. The coach discussed this with Winthrop’s coach, who later told him “the problem was taken care of” so no complaint was filed. It is not known if the parent ejected after the Feb. 29 2012 incident is the same person from the Wilmington game a year ago. From FOX 25 News and 7 News WHDH.

UPDATE 3, March 4 2012: WHDH TV confirmed that the man ejected during the Wilmington game in 2011 was the same person who was ejected during the Medway-Ashland game. From 7 News WHDH.

UPDATE 4, March 7 2012: Joseph Cordes, 42, will be arraigned on a criminal charge of disturbing the peace. He told CBS station WBZ that he “I feel like a complete jerk. It was very stupid, completely immature….” and that he had humiliated his daughter.

Joseph Cordes laser pointer hockey game
Screen capture of Joseph Cordes, from WBZ-TV


The Boston Globe quoted the father of goalie Kathryn Hamer as saying “I’m not sure if disturbing the peace is quite enough, because I think this man had a malicious intent.” Phillip Hamer has not decided whether to file civil charges. He said his daughter had “momentary confusion” from the laser exposure, but is “fine now.” From the Boston Herald, the Boston Globe, and CBS Boston WBZ-TV.
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US: Juvenile temporarily blinds officer, who remains out for evaluation

A police officer in Montville (NJ) was temporarily blinded by a green laser pointer wielded by a juvenile in a February 8 2012 incident. As of February 17, the officer remains off duty for evaluation. The juvenile was charged with aggravated assault and interfering with transportation.

Patrolman Jason Blustein was driving to investigate a burglar alarm when the beam went into his left eye and he “briefly lost vision.” Blustein continued to the alarm site where he found it was a false alarm. He then went to the home where the beam had been aimed from a second-floor window. He spoke with a woman who called her son downstairs. A laser pointer was confiscated and the boy was arrested. Police say “the juvenile was upset and said he didn’t mean it.”

From the Montville NJ Patch

Greece: Laser pointers continue to be used in riots

Laser pointers continue to be used during demonstrations in Athens, in mid-February 2012. The photo below accompanied a February 13 Reuters story.

Pic 2012-02-20 at 9.44.24 AM
Two separate lasers are being used, possibly held by the same person. One beam is aimed at the row of riot police at lower left, the other’s target is out of the camera frame. A more detailed version can be seen at the
Toledo Blade; click on the small photo to see it larger.

The Reuters story described burning buildings, smoke plumes, tear gas, hurled stones, petrol bombs and stun grenades. Fourteen protesters and eight policemen were injured, and more than 50 protesters were treated for breathing problems due to tear gas. The story did not mention laser pointers, so it is unknown the extent of their use, what effect they may have had on the situation, and whether any persons were injured or sought treatment.

A photo from the Associated Press was published February 20, showing green laser light directly in the eyes of a riot policeman. The accompanying AP story briefly discussed demonstrations, and did not mention laser pointer use.

Pic 2012-02-20 at 9.35.30 AM


Reuters story as published in the Otago Daily Times; AP story as published in the Toledo Blade. Previous LaserPointerSafety.com news items about laser use during riots, including protests in Greece, are listed here.
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UK: UPDATED - Train stops, driver goes to hospital, after laser pen attack

A train was forced to stop, and the driver was hospitalized, after a green laser pen was shone into his eyes. The February 9 2012 incident happened at 9:30 pm in the White City area, on the 8:41 pm First Great Western train from Bristol Temple Meads to Worcester Shrub Hill. The train stopped at Gloucester, where the driver was treated by paramedics and was taken to hospital. Passengers transferred to another train.

A police spokesman said the laser light “not
only distracted the driver and potentially damaged his eye, but it also could have had serious safety consequences for the passengers. The driver's attention was averted from his job of safely controlling the train…. He is currently awaiting the results of medical assessments on his eye and is in some degree of pain. We are hopeful he'll make a full recovery but, at this stage, he is in some discomfort."

Police are asking for assistance in finding two youths seen on a footbridge off Southfield Road in White City.

From this is Gloucestershire and BBC News Gloucestershire

UPDATE February 14 2012: The train driver “is recovering and should return to work next week”, according to a spokesperson for First Great Western quoted by BBC News Gloucestershire. The story also said that there had been six laser-train incidents on the FGW network from January 2011 through February 14 2012, and that the February 9 incident had the most serious impact on the driver.

UK: Footballer scores winning goal despite laser pen attack

During a Carling Cup semi-final match January 11 2012, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had a laser pen aimed at his face just prior to taking a penalty kick:

Pic 2012-01-12 at 11.39.45 AM

Despite the distraction, Gerrard made the game-winning goal against Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart:

Pic 2012-01-12 at 11.32.39 AM

There was no indication in news stories whether the pen-wielding laser lout was identified.

From The Telegraph

US: Drunk arrested on Christmas Eve for lasing police car

On Christmas Eve 2011, an apparently intoxicated man repeatedly aimed a green laser pointer at a police officer sitting in his parked patrol car at the Southington (Connecticut) fire department headquarters. The officer initially thought the green light was from a traffic signal changing. He then saw a green dot on the windshield and realized it was from a laser pointer across the street. Backup was called in, and 35-year-old Kevin R. King was identified as the perpetrator.

King said he was “kidding around” while demonstrating the laser to friends. He was given a $75 ticket for shining a laser pointer to harass or alarm. A court date of January 13 was set for Bristol Superior Court.

From MyRecordJournal.com and Southington Patch

US: Drivers in Pa. lased by two teens

Two teenagers in a vehicle were arrested December 2 2011 for aiming a green laser pointer at cars in Myerstown, Pennsylvania (about midway between Harrisburg and Reading). Police were called to the scene by motorists; the responding state police trooper was hit in the eyes by the teens. Nicolo P. Vivona, 19, and William E. Eckart III, 18, were charged with recklessly endangering another person, harassment, and disorderly conduct.

From ABC27 and Reading Eagle

Northern Ireland: Youths aim laser pen at drivers

A group of youths aimed a laser pen at motorists in Limavady, near Derry, on November 8 2011. A bus driver “averted his gaze and managed to avoid damage to his eyes.” Another man hit said “my car had a green laser aimed at it, but thankfully the laser reflected off the body work. It did, however, still alter the clarity of vision so I can appreciate how extremely dangerous a laser aimed at drivers could be.”

Police are searching for the perpetrators.

From the Derry Journal

UK: Laser aimed at train driver near Gainsborough station

A green laser was aimed at a train driver near Gainsborough railway station on October 14 2011. It came from a housing development near Marshalls Rise, just outside the station. The driver was distracted by the laser light, and subsequent trains were placed on caution which caused delays.

Officers searched for suspects but did not find anyone. British Transport Police warn the public against misuse of laser pens.

From
Rail.co

UK: Laser pen aimed at vehicles and plane

A green laser was aimed at motorists near Witney, 12 miles west of Oxford, at about the same time that a commercial aircraft reported a green laser as it flew over Witney. Police are searching for the persons involved in the incidents.

Police received several calls that a group of people in a silver people carrier was shining a green laser on the A40 near Witney, at about 8 p.m on September 15 2011. Police also were contacted by air traffic control staff after an aircraft was targeted with a green laser at 8 p.m. The police declined to release details of the flight or its effect, if any, on the flight until statements had been taken from the pilots and crew. The fine for aiming at aircraft is up to £2,500.

From the Witney Gazette. This news item is being cross-posted in on the News/Aviation incidents page as well.