A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

Switzerland: Trams canceled after series of laser attacks on drivers

A tram line operating between Basil, Switzerland and St-Louis, France has shut down night operations, after numerous attacks from the France side with stones and laser pointers.

There is no apparent reason for the attacks. Laser pointers were used "on many occasions". Security guards were on call in France, but were unable to stop the attacks.

Drivers refused to go to St-Louis because of the attacks. The shutdown came on May 2 2019 after a female tram driver was illuminated with a laser pointer, and went for medical treatment.

From The Local and (in German) Basler Zeitung

UK: 68 attacks on West Yorkshire firefighters in 9 months; 2 of these involved lasers

Between April and December 2018, there were 68 attacks on West Yorkshire firefighters, according to a February 2019 report by the West Yorkshire Fire Authority.

In some cases, rocks or other objects were thrown at the firefighters or their equipment. In other cases, firefighters were verbally abused.

In two of the 68 cases, lasers were involved:

  • On 30 September 2018, at 1837 hours whilst attending a fire in the open at Lonsdale Street, Bradford a group of youths threw fireworks onto the fire, verbally abused the crews and shone laser pens into their eyes.
  • On 27th May 2018 at 2310 hours a laser pen was pointed at crews whilst they responded to an incident on The Crescent, Ravensthorpe. The occupier also became abusive and admitted causing the fire.

The complete list of 68 attacks was published in the Telegraph and Argus on February 16 2019.

US: Laser aimed from Mexico, across border, at Texas police officers

Two police officers from Roma, Texas (a small city along the Rio Grande river, and a port of entry from Mexico) had lasers aimed at their eyes while on patrol in February 2019. One officer had medical attention and treatment and then returned to duty.

An assistant chief of police, Francisco Garcia, said other officers from other agencies had also had lasers aimed at them in the past 30-45 days. He said it never happened before with direct hits in the eyes that caused damage.

Garcia said "This is just one of the many tactics the cartel and the criminal organizations will use to distract officers and get us away from a certain area to start illegally crossing contraband, drugs, people, everything, they cross."

He also noted concerns over whether the laser was stand-alone such as a pointer, or whether it is mounted on a weapon.

From ValleyCentral.com and KRGV.com

UK: Ambulance driver temporarily blinded by green laser

The driver of a North West Ambulance Service vehicle was temporarily blinded by a green laser shone in her eye, as she was driving to help a patient who was having trouble breathing. The ambulance driver said “everything went black” and she had to pull to the side of the road.

She was treated at a hospital for “extreme burning pain.” She recovered with no lasting damage.

The laser attack happened in Carlisle, Cumbria around September 13 2017. It was not clear from news reports whether the ambulance driver was delayed in reaching the patient, or whether another ambulance was sent.

From BBC News

US: Man charged with assault for aiming laser at state trooper who was driving

On April 14 2017, a Michigan State Police trooper driving on his way to a crash had a laser aimed at him. The trooper’s partner was able to identify a male suspect who was taken into custody.

On April 17 state police announced that Jonathan Edward Rayner was arrested and a laser pointer was retrieved. Rayner had been a passenger in another car on the highway. The 32-year-old man was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, and with “assaulting-resisting-obstructing a police officer.” Both assault charges are felonies. The maximum penalty is four years in prison on the dangerous weapon charge, and 20 years in prison for assaulting a police officer.

Jonathan Edward Rayner laser
Jonathan Edward Rayner


The incident happened on eastbound Interstate 94 in Wayne County at about 8 pm. The trooper was taken to a hospital “with vision problems and headache.” Later that day, state police tweeted “His vision has returned and he has been cleared. Other than a serious headache he should be back to work.”

From two tweets by Michigan State Police Metro Detroit, as initially reported in
ClickOnDetroit.com. Announcement of the suspect’s name and the charges from the Detroit News, Fox 2 Detroit and the Morning Sun. Thanks to David Bothner for bringing this to our attention.

US: UPDATED - Officers in Green Bay targeted by laser during gun search

A man was arrested on September 7 2015 for aiming a laser pointer at Green Bay, Wisconsin police.

The officers had been searching at about 11 p.m. for a person who threatened someone with a gun. While the police did not find the person, during the search a laser dot was repeatedly aimed onto one of the officers.

A witness described how the laser “starts at the lower part of his torso and works his way up, as if somebody is zoning or eyeing in their weapon at this officer, and that’s exactly what this officer that saw this laser was thinking. He thinks somebody is pointing a laser at a target location on an officer to engage him and shoot him.”

According to a news report, “[t]he officers took cover and followed the laser more than a block away.” Officers confronted Jeffrey Klopotic at his home; the 45-year-old fought with the officers. They found Klopotic had a laser pointer. He was arrested and charged with resisting an officer, obstructing police, intention of directing a laser pointer at an officer, and disorderly conduct.

Jeffrey Klopotic laser
Jeffrey Klopotic

Because guns are often equipped with laser sights, police are worried whenever a laser dot appears on or near them. TV station WBAY purchased a $25 laser pointer and tested it side-by-side along with a laser gun sight. A former police captain they consulted could not tell the difference between the pointer’s dot and the gun sight’s dot.

A Green Bay police spokesman said “When you hear that eight officers are shot in nine days, yeah, it’s certainly going to get the hair on the back of your neck to stand up a little more. People have got to be mindful of what they’re doing, and the decision to do such a thing. It could have ended tragically.”

From WBAY; photo from Arrests.org.

UPDATED April 2 2018 - Jeffrey Klopotic contacted LaserPointerSafety.com in late March 2018. He stated that three of the officers who used excessive force during his arrest have resigned (not necessarily due to his particular case), and a fourth officer was recently disciplined for tasing a man three times “as he did to me.”

A February 16 2018 story in the Green Bay Press Gazette describes three officers who resigned in 2017, one “following an excessive-force case” and two “to avoid discipline for having harassed fellow officers in 2016.” In the excessive force case, officers “wrongly interpreted a man’s slow response to commands as ‘actively resisting’ arrest, and found that what officers concluded was an attempt to reach for a gun was actually the man’s attempt to keep his pants from falling down.”

Klopotic stated that he pleaded no contest “under pressure”. He provided documentation showing he had to pay $686 in a fine or court cost. He also said he is waiting for a police department investigation to conclude before filing a lawsuit about his arrest.

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