Portland, Oregon, mobs that pointed lasers at federal agents outside the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in recent weeks have injured 113 with “flash blindness” and other eye damage.
Ken Cuccinelli, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security, discussed agents’ health issues Tuesday during a Senate subcommittee hearing on the ongoing protests, looting and destruction.
“We’ve had a number of officers who have days-long blindness,” he said of the effect that green lasers have on agents. “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.”
Mr. Cuccinelli noted that a new tactic among activists is to get as close as possible to officers before blasting lasers.
“[They] 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,” he said, the New York Post reported. “And so the intensity of the strike to the eyes of the officer is much more significant.”
All the injured officers eventually had their vision return to normal.
“This is sort of the Portland formula,” Mr. Cuccinelli continued. “There’s peaceful protesting until 10 or 11 o’clock, and then they go away. And maybe some of them come back, but the group that comes back is, A., much bigger, but also they come back for violence.”
The total number of injuries suffered by federal officers stands at 277.