The deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security said federal officers in Portland suffered 113 eye injuries while guarding a courthouse from activists armed with powerful lasers.
The usually green beams produce uncomfortable heat, unlike common small red pointers, Ken Cuccinelli said last week at a Senate subcommittee hearing on the clashes in Oregon, the New York Post reported.
“We’ve had a number of officers who have days-long blindness. So far they’ve all kind of come back, if you will,” Cuccinelli said. “But you also get what’s called flash blindness. Think of it as the old Kodak cameras where you get that blue spot and you can’t quite see your entire field of vision for a period.”
Cuccinelli brought a high-powered laser as a prop to a Senate subcommittee hearing hosted by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) focused on Antifa violence during protests and riots. He said the devices could be purchased on Amazon.
The new laser attacks drew attention last month as President Trump deployed federal officers to bolster the besieged federal court building. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a briefing in July that three officers were believed to have been permanently blinded.
Although Cuccinelli said all officers recovered their sight, he said activists appeared to be aiming to maximize damage.
“A tactic that quickly developed among the violent participants in these activities was to cut those holes in the shields and instead of standing back at the back of a crowd and aiming at the eyes of officers, they will also now bring the shield up close and bring it right up into you. And so the intensity of the strike to the eyes of the officer is much more significant,” Cuccinelli said.