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US: 113 federal agents in Portland said to be injured by protesters' lasers; none were permanently blinded
All officers recovered their sight, according to deputy director Ken Cuccinelli, speaking on August 4 2020. This appears to include the "three officers who currently have eye injuries and [who] may not recover sight." This statement was said on July 21 2020 by a Federal Protective Services official. (FPS is a division of DHS.) Some persons who repeated this, such as the White House press secretary and the Attorney General, repeated the "may not" qualifier, while others — generally news or commentators — said flatly that officers were permanently blinded.
Cuccinelli said "We've had a number of officers who have days-long blindness. So far they've all come back, if you will. But you also get what's called flash blindness … where you can't quite see your entire field of vision for a period." [As explained below, flash blindness is not an "eye injury" and should not have been included in the total of 113 "eye injuries.]
Cuccinelli told the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution that protesters began aiming at police from closer distances. Since laser beams spread out, this reduces the spread and thus increases the hazard potential. Protesters do this, he said, so police cannot identify suspects.
Cuccinelli demonstrated what he called a "commercial grade" laser by aiming it into his hand. He said such a laser could be purchased on Amazon.com.
During his testimony Cuccinelli stated there were at least 277 injuries to approximately 140 federal agents at the Portland federal courthouse. Of these, 113 were eye injuries (the most common), followed by noise injuries and injuries caused by contact with an object.
From the New York Post and the Portland Tribune. Also see our first story about the July 21 "three officers may be blinded" statement, and our page about Laser use during protests.
COMMENTARY FROM LASERPOINTERSAFETY.COM
It is certainly worrisome that such a large number of eye effects and injuries were reported. As discussed in depth on our "Laser use during protests" page, no one should aim a laser at anyone's eyes or head — not even in a protest situation.
On the other hand it is a relief that three injuries, said on July 21 to possibly be permanent, appear not to have had permanent effects. As Cuccinelli testified,"So far they've all come back, if you will."
IS FLASH BLINDNESS AN INJURY? NO.
Cuccinelli incorrectly seems to be including flash blindness as an "injury" in his list of 113. He correctly described flash blindness as being like "the old Kodak cameras where you get that blue spot" from the camera flash.
Laser flash blindness is essentially the same mechanism. Bright laser light causes a bright temporary spot with an afterimage that gradually fades away. The fading may take seconds, minutes or hours — but just like with an ordinary camera flash, it does fade, causing no permanent injury.
No one has ever said that a camera flash causes an eye injury. Therefore, the list of 113 injuries should NOT include camera flash-type temporary flash blindness.
Laser safety experts agree. Afterimages are not injuries since they are caused by saturation of rhodopsin or "bleaching" in the outer segments of photoreceptors that results in a localized reduced sensitivity for a time. In contrast, an injury results in a minimally visible lesion which histologically involves the retinal pigmented epithelium and the photoreceptors.
It is not known how many of the 113 stated "eye injuries" were flash blindness or similar (e.g., not actual injuries).
DOES AMAZON.COM SELL THESE? YES.
Cuccinelli said high powered lasers were available for sale at Amazon.com.
We conducted a search of Amazon's U.S. website on the evening of August 4 2020. The search term "high power laser pointer" turned up at least two listings for lasers that looked like what Cuccinelli demonstrated, both in size and in beam color. The two listings have different brand names (Loyalfire and JCKSY) but appear to be essentially identical, using similar or identical photos. Here is the Loyalfire laser:
From the form factor, type of battery, and description ("it can light a match or paper easily"), this laser device is likely substantially over the U.S. FDA limit of 5 milliwatts for a laser to be sold as a "pointer" or for pointing applications.
Amazon's laser policy in the past has been to not sell laser pointers or handheld lasers over 5 mW (e.g., Class 3B or 4). The policy currently is behind a wall so that only Amazon Sellers can see the policy.
The Loyalfire (and JCKSY, and many other lasers at Amazon) appear to violate that policy.
Note that sellers can get around this by avoiding the word "pointer"or "pointing", and by claiming their lasers are less than 5 mW. Yet based on the form factor, batteries, and description ("burning", "cutting") a buyer can suspect or know that the laser is well over 5 mW. As far as we know, Amazon does not test, validate, certify or otherwise screen the actual lasers.
Also, in a larger sense it does not matter too much if Amazon.com stops selling such lasers. They are readily available from many other sites on the Internet, some that specialize only in pointers and handheld lasers.
DID EYE PROTECTION HELP? UNKNOWN.
We have not seen news stories stating whether Cuccinelli testified if officers were using laser eye protection, and if that was effective. On July 10 2020 the Federal Protective Service (a division of the Department of Homeland Security) issued a sole-source contract for 1,000 pairs of Stingerhawk FT-2 Laser Protective Eyewear from Revision Military. It is not known if the glasses were delivered in time to be useful to the officers.
Ben Leech told the Regina Leader Post that the light "was super bright, but it only was pointing at my face for around a second, so it didn’t do too much damage or anything. It was just kind of a shock to see it." The exposure left white spot afterimages for a few seconds. There was no permanent damage.
Four frames in quick succession from a dashcam video showing the laser beam on the pavement, hood, windshield, and in the air. The video is at YouTube.
Leech could not identify the car so he did not report it to the Regina Police Service. An RPS spokesperson said they were not previously aware of automobile drivers being targeted by lasers, although it has happened to aircraft in the area.
From the Regina Leader Post, February 15 2020
US: UPDATED - NFL quarterback targeted by laser pointer during game; fan eventually found and fined $500
KMBC reporter William Joy highlighted the green laser beam, seen here on the center of Tom Brady's helmet. The laser appeared to be around 4 inches wide, and danced on the quarterback's upper body — it was not held steady. Video by Turner Twyman.
According to Joy, the beam was on Brady's eyes and helmet at least three times during the game: "…once right after the muffed Julian Edelman punt call was overturned when Patriots retook possession, once on a completion to Chris Hogan, and once on a deep ball to Rob Gronkowski."
The NFL's security department was looking into the incident. As of January 23 2019, Kansas City police have not received a complaint but say they will investigate if a complaint is filed.
From the Washington Post, Boston Globe, musketfire.com and many other news sources. Sports Illustrated has an especially detailed look at the safety and legal issues around laser pointer misuse at NFL games. Thanks to Doug McCullough for bringing this to our attention.
COMMENTARY BY LASERPOINTERSAFETY.COM: Based on the brightness and size of the beam in the videos, it is highly unlikely that this had enough irradiance (power density) to cause harm to any person's eyes.
Light from a laser pointer can harm human eyes at close ranges; within a few yards or meters. But at the distances involved, from a person in the stands to a player on the field, light from a handheld laser pointer would spread out (as the video shows) and would not be steady enough to allow dangerous heat to build up in the eye. This goes for both visible green light, and any non-visible infrared light (some poorly-constructed green laser pointers also emit non-visible infrared light).
The worst effect would be glare or brief flashblindness, like when a camera flash goes off close to a person's face. Since Brady did not seem to notice, and others — national sportscasters and the two teams involved — also did not notice anything unusual at the time, the laser targeting did not seem to affect the outcome of the play or of the game.
LaserPointerSafety.com has more stories about lasers misused during sporting events.
UPDATED February 3 2019: ESPN reported that Kansas City Chiefs officials, using videotape and eyewitnesses, identified the person who aimed a laser at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The person has been banned for life from the Chiefs' stadium. The officials have asked the Kansas City district attorney to bring the strongest possible charges against the person, to act as a deterrent.
ESPN also reported that "…members of the military have reached out to Brady to inform him that the lasers shined near his face could cause irreversible eye damage."
From ESPN and many subsequent sources such as the Boston Herald and CBS Sports
UPDATED April 11 2019: Dwyan Morgan, 64, was identified as the man who aimed a laser at Tom Brady during the American Football Conference championship game on January 20 2019. He was cited with one count of disturbing the peace; the penalty is up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Morgan will appear in Jackson County Municipal Court on July 17.
According to Heavy.com, Morgan is an electrician from Lee's Summit, Missouri. The website also said that a younger male relative posted items on Facebook making light of the citation and Brady.
According to TMZ, "Sources connected to Morgan tell us ... his intention was never to hurt anyone, he was just trying to have fun and didn't expect things to blow up the way they did. We're also told Morgan was drinking before the laser incident...." TMZ also reported that "One source close to the Chiefs fan says he feels bad for embarrassing Chiefs Nation, but has no plans to apologize to the Patriots. In fact, we're told he still hates the Pats and Tom Brady ... passionately and will continue to root against them -- just not from Arrowhead [Stadium], because he's been banned."
From the Boston Herald, Heavy.com, TMZ, and a press release from the Jackson County Prosecutor
UPDATED May 13 2019: Dwyan Morgan told Inside Edition he did not intend to injure Tom Brady. Morgan said he was intoxicated and wanted to distract the quarterback. He said "I shouldn't have done it" but also said he is not gong to apologize to Brady or the Patriots football team. From Inside Edition
Dwyan Morgan recreates his aiming a laser pointer at Tom Brady, for the TV show Inside Edition
Dwyan Morgan and his 23-year-old son Colton both appear to be amused by Dwyan getting a misdemeanor citation for "Disturbing the peace by shining a laser pointer in the direction of Tom Brady during a football game."
He was examined two days later at the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia. While slit-scan examination of the left eye showed no abnormalities, on an Amsler grid exam the patient drew a 2 mm circular spot. A fundus photograph showed a circular lesion in the fovea (magnified on the right):
Two weeks later the patient said there was some improvement in his vision. Fundus photography showed the lesion was smaller and less prominent; this was corroborated by optical coherence tomography (OCT).
The patient’s vision was expected to continue to improve over time.
From “Wills Eye Resident Case Series”, Jared D. Peterson, M.D. in the Review of Ophthalmology, November 7 2011. Introduction to case here; details of diagnosis, and discussion of eye injuries and treatment here.
Tests at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Ophthalmology clinic one week after exposure showed no lesion visible to the eye (slit lamp exam) or with fundus photographs. However, Amsler grid tests indicated a central field visual defect in the left eye. Using more sensitive optical coherence tomography (OCT), a 56-micron disruption area was seen:
Intravenous fluorescein angiography displayed a barely detectable foveal window defect:
The diagnosis was that the blind spot was likely to remain, unchanged, and that treatment would not be necessary or effective,
Check-ups after two months and six months showed no change. However, after two years the teen no longer complained about a blind spot, and Amsler grid results were normal — despite OCT still showing the disruption area.
In an article describing the case, the authors concluded: “Our case represents a somewhat unique instance, where a moderate-powered [Class] 3B green laser produced visually significant retinal injury without correlating fundus findings on physical examination. The injury was only detectable by OCT and questionably fluorescein angiography…. Our case demonstrates the unpredictability of retinal findings in laser exposure in this power range, and the importance of OCT when evaluating patients who present with symptoms following dangerous laser exposures… If powerful lasers continue to be marketed as benign lights and their access to adolescent hands remains just a few keystrokes away, more ocular injury of this nature can be expected.”
From Military Medicine, Volume 180, Issue 3, 1 March 2015, Pages e378–e380, https://doi.org/10.7205/MILMED-D-14-00420
The most serious injury that the boy caused was a large hole in his macula, shown with the yellow arrows.
Two other areas of injury were not immediately visible in a funduscopic exam of the retina (photo A, using ordinary white light) but were clearly visible using fundus autofluorescence imaging (blue arrows in photo B, using a narrow wavelength of light). The round area to the left in both photos is the optic disc, a natural feature where the optic nerve begins — it is not laser damage.
The macula is where central vision occurs. The fact that the injury occurred in the macula indicates that the boy looked directly into the laser light with his left eye. Damage to the macula is serious as this area provides high resolution, color vision in the center of the visual field.
The injury reduced the boy’s vision to 20/100 in the injured left eye; his right eye remained at 20/20. The boy’s ophthalmologists felt the hole was too large and too much time had passed since the injury for surgery. (The doctors suspected that the boy had injured his eye at least a year earlier.) Because surgery might make things worse, causing a cataract without improving the macula, they “favored conservative management.”
There was no improvement in vision even 1 1/2 years after the injury was first presented to the ophthalmologists.
The power of the laser pointer, and other details of the incident, were not described in the one-paragraph report published June 21 2018. One of the authors told CNN the boy’s father “had bought the laser as a toy from a street merchant.”
From the New England Journal of Medicine (N Engl J Med 2018; 378:2420, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMicm1714488) Authors: Sofia Androudi, M.D., Ph.D., and Eleni Papageorgiou, M.D., Ph.D. Additional reporting by CNN. This story was picked up by many other news sites around the world.
A January 25 2018 news report said one resident keeps a “laser log” of the incidents, which can go on for several minutes. The resident said it happened five times in the past two weeks.
Police have been involved in trying to find the perpetrator.
While the green laser light’s location can clearly be seen and photographed, the location is the common-area hallway of an apartment building. No specific person has been identified.
According to the news report, “[s]hining a laser into another person’s eyes in California is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 30 days in jail.”
UPDATED - March 27 2018: Blue-green light again was aimed into a Mission Hills home, on March 23 2018. It appears to be coming from the same apartment building as the January incidents. Footage shows homeowner Daniel Wang using a telescope to try to identify the specific location in the apartment building. (Note: A person should not use a telescope or binoculars to look in the direction of a laser, since the optics can focus the beam and make it more dangerous than looking at the beam with the naked eye.) From 10news.com.
The protests marked the 44th anniversary of a 1973 student uprising against the military dictatorship.
Reuters photo from Telesur
Screenshot from a California Highway Patrol video that shows laser pointers being aimed at drivers, at spectators, and at a police helicopter monitoring a sideshow.
A California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer noted multiple hazards, from eye injury to blinding vehicle operators: “So, if a laser got in the eyes of a sideshow participant, it is going to cause temporary blindness, permanent eye damage. It could cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle itself. If he loses control, it is going to hit multiple people at once and cause mass injuries…. The lasers could cause temporary blindness for the pilot, could cause the pilot to alter their course, and it could cause the helicopter to crash.”
During the same time period in December 2017, there was also a report of multiple laser strikes on airplanes landing at Oakland International Airport (story here).
From KRON TV and East Bay Times. See also this story about a man arrested at a January 2018 Oakland slideshow for aiming a laser at a CHP helicopter.
Police released four videos from officers’ body-worn cameras, showing how the incident progressed. A detailed look at the laser light seen in videos is below. First though, a summary of the incident.
The fatal incident
Police had been called by Richards’ landlord because Richards had not been seen for a few days. Confronted by two police officers in his Bronx apartment bedroom, Richards stood motionless and silent throughout most of the incident. He had a knife in one hand and the toy gun behind his back.
Body-worn video shows the scene.
Police asked him dozens of times to drop the knife and put his hands up. After about 10 minutes, they noticed the gun.
An officer told Richards “"Drop that gun, dude. Drop that gun. I don't want to shoot you if you've got a fake gun in your hand. You hear me? But I will shoot you if that's a real gun."
Two additional officers then arrived; one pulled out a stun gun. Richards appeared to raise his arm and aim the laser pointer towards the officers. The officer with the stun gun fired. After a few seconds, and a possible second laser “shot” from Richards, a second officer fired nine bullets, a third officer fired seven bullets, and the fourth officer did not fire.
Richards died at the scene.
The imitation pistol with laser pointer lies at the scene; NYPD photo.
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
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.
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.
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.
Lynsey McClure had imported the lasers from a Chinese supplier who said they complied with U.K. regulations limiting laser pens to 1 milliwatt of power. Her brother, who was not charged, sold them in a stall during a school fair in December 2015. The headmaster asked her brother to stop selling the laser, but he continued.
Jonathan Marshall, 7, purchased one of the lasers. It was later found to have an output of 127 milliwatts.
His mother said Jonathan was playing with it at home when the beam went into his eye for “a fraction of a second.” He has a retinal burn which interferes with his vision.
McClure pleaded guilty to nine product safety and consumer protection violations, including selling an unsafe product and failing to disclose the power of the laser.
The case appears to be the first where a person has been prosecuted for an illegal laser sale that led to an injury.
From the Sunday Times (subscription required to read the entire article) and the JC.com
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.
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.
From a November 5 news account, it appears the injury occurred on Friday October 30 2015. The boy saw a general practitioner the following Monday, who then referred the teen to Ben Armitage, a Hobart (Tasmania) optometrist.
Armitage said the boy did not feel pain during the exposure, but he immediately lost visual acuity. “His vision is down to about 25 percent of what we call 20/20 vision and unfortunately at this stage it’s unlikely that vision is ever going to recover.”
Retina of one of the teen’s two eyes that were damaged by a self-inflicted laser pointer exposure. The injury occurred near the macula. At the center of the macula is the fovea, responsible for sharp central vision.
The damaged area is still swollen; Armitage hopes that some vision may be restored when the swelling recedes.
An Optometry Tasmania spokesperson warned parents not to allow children unsupervised access to laser pointers “and, in fact, better off trying to warn them off because we’ve just seen in this particular case where the future lifestyle of this young person has been seriously affected.”
From ABC (Australia) News
The 44-year-old driver stared into the laser several times, as he tried to identify the person holding the laser. He suffered blurred vision in his right eye immediately after the exposure, but waited 6 months before having his first complete eye exam.
The exam showed “spot-like retinal pigment epithelium disturbances temporal to the fovea of the right eye, with no abnormalities in his left eye.” The authors stated that “The subjective complaints and objective ophthalmological findings of this patient were consistent and strongly suggested that the repetitive exposure of the eye to the reflected laser spot 6 months previously had caused subtle but detectable injury to the macula.”
The authors concluded with two “Learning points”:
- “We suggest that no laser pointers of any class are made available to children, since they are unlikely to understand the risks of permanent retinal damage.”
- “For the safety of users and the general public, even low-energy handheld laser pointers should not be sold to children.”
The authors did not identify the location of the incident, but it may be Germany since three of the four authors’ institutions were in Germany. Additional analysis and commentary is below (click the “Read More…” link).
From Thanos S, Böhm MRR, Meyer zu Hörste M, et al. “Retinal damage induced by mirror-reflected light from a laser pointer” BMJ Case Reports. Retrieved online: 2015 Nov 05, doi:10.1136/bcr-2015- 210311.
Click to read more...
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
This photo shows a red light coming from the audience area, aimed towards the stage.
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
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.”
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.
On July 7, Peterson made a Facebook post where he threatened to kill police, and referenced being shot by police. Three days later, West Jordan police officer Ian Adams was patrolling a shopping center and saw Peterson, who ran. During the chase, Peterson turned and drew an object that looked like a handgun. Adams shot Peterson twice, once in the legs and once in the buttocks.
The object was found to be a piece of bent metal with a taped-on laser pointer.
Click to read more...
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.
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:
The zoo had previously applied to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) for approval to use the glove, and for exemption from labeling and classification requirements. The request was rejected.
However, the zoo went ahead with the production.
In a September 17 2014 story, Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) quoted NRPA staffer, Sindre Øvergaard, who attended a performance in July 2014. He said it swept over the audience three times: “I and my partner got it right in the eye. We noticed there was a very bright light, and it hurt a little.”
Since he had been involved in the zoo’s original application to NRPA, Øvergaard told VG “that they [the zoo] took it to use is simply indefensible.”
The case was reported to the police. The zoo says a subcontractor told them the glove (shown below) was approved.
Russian team manager Fabio Capello blamed the defeat on biased officiating and on the laser incident: “Our goalkeeper was affected by a laser 10 seconds before the goal. He was blinded by a laser, there are photos, films of it.... You can see that in the footage. This not an excuse, it is a fact. There was a laser. I have never come up with excuses to get by in my entire life.”
Two views of the laser on Russian goalie Igor Akinfeev.
In the 60th minute, after play had stopped for a free kick, a laser beam was repeatedly flashed in goalie Igor Akinfeev’s face. He stood up, and yelled and motioned at the referees to get them to try to stop the laser, as shown in the GIF animation below.
Then, as play resumed, Akinfeev was again hit near his eye. He appeared to misjudge the ball’s flight, leaving the goal exposed:
According to The Verge, “It’s difficult to tell quite how much Akinfeev was affected by the beam — the Russian doesn't blink or wince as it rakes across his face.”
The game took place at the Arena de Baixada, in Curitiba, Brazil. The final 1-1 score was not unexpected. For example, a preview published prior to the game by SportsKeeda foretold the 1-1 outcome: “Given that Algeria only need a draw to go through, they might not go out and attack in the second half, if the game is in the balance. Russia on the other hand, need to, but their misfiring attack is unlikely to score too many past Algeria. So expect a draw with Algeria going through and Russia going home. Predicted Scoreline: Algeria 1 – 1 Russia.”
FIFA, the world football governing body, in its publication Stadium Safety and Security Regulations recommends a ban on “Any item that could distract the players and/or officials, including laser pointers...” It is not known if the Arena de Baixada had such a ban in place or was actively searching all entrants for laser pointers.
From Fansided.com, Yahoo Sports, the Daily Mail, The Verge, SportsKeeda, and Larry Brown Sports.
UPDATED June 30 2014: The Algerian Football Union was fined 50,000 swiss francs (about USD $56,170) by FIFA, which has the power to fine clubs for their fans’ behavior. From the Voice of Russia.
The replica gun, emitting a red laser beam, used to harass motorists.
The officer was on patrol in Kittery, a seaside town at the southern tip of Maine, when he saw a red laser beam in his cruiser. He then saw the beam on other vehicles as well.
The officer pulled up behind the car of Seth Christman, and arrested him. Christman was charged with criminal use of a laser pointer under Maine Title 17-A Sec. 1002-A. The Class D misdemeanor prohibits intentionally pointing a laser beam at a police officer or a “reasonable person” for the purpose of intimidating and attempting to harm.
Christman’s next hearing in York District Court is set for March 5 2014.
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.
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
A video from the helmet cam of one of the targeted racers shows green flashes on his front visor, just before the starting gate drops. In addition, a photo taken at the same time shows a green glow above a distant spectator’s shoulder (circled in yellow below).
After the race, riders complained to MX Sports, the event organizer. Race personnel went through the crowd and soon found a retired pro racer with a green laser pointer in his hand.
Jeff Alessi initially denied the laser attack and tried to blame his girlfriend. A race official confiscated the laser and Alessi’s credentials which turned out to belong to his father. Later, an argument ensued which was captured on video, between Alessi and his father, and a journalist.
On July 22, MX Sports suspended Jeff Alessi’s eligibility and fined him $500. His father was suspended for the rest of the outdoor season. Alessi’s brother Mike, who competed in the disputed race, was fined $10,000 for the laser incident and $5,000 for transferring his father’s credentials to his brother.
The laser was described by MX Sports as “a powerful green laser pointer torch, capable of reaching considerable distance.”
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.
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
The lasers were not labeled. The North Somerset Council warned the beam “could be seen 100m away” and “can actually cause serious and permanent damage to the eye.”
From the Weston Mercury 24
Afterwards, the boy could not see clearly and had a black spot in his visual field. He kept this from his parents for about three weeks, after which the boy was seen by Professor Stefan Dithmar and Dr. Stefanie Pollithy at the University of Heidelberg Department of Ophthalmology. Their diagnosis was “acute bilateral impaired vision and central scotoma.”
A journal article in Der Ophthalmologe has more information, but the full article requires a subscription. Jochen Pernstainer, who told LaserPointerSafety.com about the case, kindly provided several details from the article:
- The schoolyard exposure lasted several seconds
- The laser pointer was measured at 55 milliwatts
- The boy had impaired vision and a black spot on both eyes
- Nine weeks after the exposure his vision got a bit better
Fundoscopic photos of the 11-year-old boy’s left and right eyes. Larger versions can be seen here.
Dithmar told a local newspaper that the German Product Safety Act prohibits the sale of products that might cause harm to health, but “there is little that you cannot get on the Internet.”
Press report from die Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung (in German; an English Google-translated version is here). Journal article in Der Ophthalmologe, Vol. 109, No. 9 (2012), 907-910, entitled “Akute bilateral Visusminderung kit Zentralskotom bei einem 11-jährigen Jungen.” Thanks to Jochen Pernsteiner for bringing this to our attention.
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, 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.
There was no reason given for Levy’s use of the laser pointer against the driver of the fire truck.
Irene Marie Levy
From KABC and the Press-Enterprise
UPDATE, NOVEMBER 2012: Levy was arrested on November 2 2012 for aiming a laser at a police cruiser, then at the sheriff’s department helicopter sent to investigate. More on this story is here.
Later, during another Messi free kick, a laser was aimed at Milan defender Dani Alves.
Messi is a top-ranked star who he won FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009, and won the UFEA Best Player in Europe award for 2010-11.
From Metro and the Guardian
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.”
A person aims a laser during the London, Ontario riot. From a photo gallery at The Star.
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.
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
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.
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.
Despite the distraction, Gerrard made the game-winning goal against Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart:
There was no indication in news stories whether the pen-wielding laser lout was identified.
From The Telegraph
Charged with driving without a valid license, and criminal threatening
From WMUR TV
300 hours of community service for shining lasers on ferries
The judge said that while Long could have caused “significant” harm, he no longer lived in a house overlooking the channel, so “the chance of reoffending was unlikely.”
From the Marlborough Express. There are additional stories about Long’s guilty plea from the New Zealand Herald; about prosecutors being upset due to Long being given bail despite having “an arsenal” of 30 guns, also from the New Zealand Herald; and about the trial where the defense said persons other than Long were using the laser, from the Marlborough Express.
(UPDATE March 14 2012: The hobbyist reported “I still have the blind spot, and was effectively told by the ophthalmologist that it would probably be there the rest of my life. That doesn't bother me TOO much, since it isn't very inhibiting.”)
.Click to read more...
"Everyone is speaking badly of me, but why don't people criticize the lasers that were being aimed into my eyes?” Ronaldo said at a press conference. He intends to ask the Union of European Football Associations to take action to ban laser pointers from stadiums.
From Bettor.com, ESPN, and Yahoo!Sports
A still from the video (below) shows a laser being used to disrupt goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud
This is at least the third time that Malasysian fans have lased opponents. On December 26 2010, an AFF Cup finals match with Indonesia was delayed eight minutes after a laser was aimed on Indonesia’s goalkeeper Markus Harison. Indonesia’s president became involved after the game. News reports at the time said there was also a previous incident in a game with Vietnam.
From Guyism and YouTube
A view of the crowd (AP via Yahoo News)
Laser pointers were aimed at the police (DPA via Spiegel)
Green and red pointers were also aimed at the Parliament building, where the dots from red pointers spelled the Greek word for “thieves.” (DPA via Spiegel)
The accompanying story is primarily about a crackdown on curfew violators. Only the photo and its caption mentions laser pointer violations. The full-sized photo can be seen at the Virginian-Pilot website.
From Pilot Online.com. More information on gun-shaped laser pointers and other incidents involving gun/pointers is here.
A full-size version of this photo is available at the Daily Mail link below.
From the Daily Mail
An examination two weeks later showed injuries to both retinas. There was severe vision loss in the left eye and 20/50 vision in the right. His left eye was injected with ranibizumab which helped improve vision to 20/25 after four weeks. The right eye improved on its own to 20/32.
The left eye clearly shows damage from a self-inflicted exposure to a 150 mW green laser pointer.
The report appeared in a letter published September 9 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Click to read more...
The burn site on the youth’s right eye