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US: LAPD officer has eye injury from laser

The following is from a news release dated July 19 2020, issued by the Los Angeles Police Department:

Suspect Arrested After Pointing Laser Pointer At Officer

On July 16th, 2020, around 8:40 a.m., a LAPD police officer in full uniform was in the area of 2nd St. and San Pedro when he felt a burning sensation in his eye. The officer believed the burning sensation may have been caused by a laser pointer. He was able to locate the suspect, 45-year-old Douglas Meyer, on a balcony in a nearby building. Additional officers went to the building and took Meyer into custody. Meyer was booked for Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Police Officer, booking #5973501.

The officer began to experience nausea, vomiting, an intense headache, and blurred vision. He has received initial medical treatment, but will require follow up treatment with a specialist due to the seriousness of the sustained injury and symptoms.



UPDATE November 11 2020: An officer with the Los Angeles Police Department said he lost vision in his right eye, suffers migraines and has had trouble balancing for at least two months after having a laser aimed at his eye on July 16 2020.

Officer Kyle Rice was on a call in the Little Tokyo area of downtown Los Angeles when someone unrelated to the call aimed a laser from a fourth-floor balcony of an apartment building. He told NBC Los Angeles he felt his right eye was on fire.

A 45-year-old suspect was arrested and later released from jail. As of September 10 2020, no charges were filed as the L.A. District Attorney's office said it did not have evidence in the case.

Due to his symptoms, Rice cannot drive. He is seeing eye specialists and neurologists, and does not yet know if the injury is permanent.

On September 4 2020 the LAPD police chief sent a memo to officers telling them to "adjust their vision away from the laser", and that laser eye protection would be provided. The memo noted "The use of a laser itself shall not presumptively constitute a threat that justifies an officer's use of deadly force" (emphasis in the original). The memo added that "If confronted with a laser, personnel shall utilize concepts found in Use of Force, Tactics Directive 16, Tactical De-escalation Techniques."

From NBC Los Angeles