A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use
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."
UPDATED July 18 2019: On July 17 2019 Dwyan Morgan pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. He was fined $500. He was not given any jail time. From TMZ Sports and the Associated Press via KSNT.com
US: Colorado senior used laser pointer while stalking 10-year-old neighbor girl
In addition, the man left notes, money and candy for the girl, and used binoculars to look into their home.
To avoid having their child testify at a trial, the victim’s parents agreed to a plea bargain deal. Pico pleaded guilty to promotion of obscenity in a minor. He received a 30-day jail sentence, was registered as a sex offender, was forbidden to have any contact with persons 18 or younger, and was required to have mental health treatment.
From KKTV 11 News and The Gazette
US: UPDATED - NY state homeland security head uses laser gunsight as pointer in presentation
The Albany Times-Union reported on January 6 2014 that “...three Swedish emergency managers in the delegation were rattled when the gun's laser tracked across one of their heads before Hauer found the map of New York, at which he wanted to point.” Two persons “...moved quickly out of the line of the laser when he brought out the gun.”
There were no reported injuries from the incident.
Hauer has not denied the incident, although New York state press officials have not provided any additional explanation or details.
The Times-Union said Hauer had a stroke and “can be unsteady”. The laser was mounted on a loaded 9-millimeter Glock that he carries into state buildings, “... an apparent violation of state law barring state employees from bringing weapons into the workplace.”
Hauer is commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. He was director of the New York City Office of Emergency Management from 1996 to 2000, and was Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness within the Department of Health and Human Services from 2002 to 2004. He is approximately 61 years old as of January 2014.
From the Albany Times-Union and the Wikipedia article on Jerome Hauer
UPDATED January 7 2014, 1:45 pm: Hauer told the New York Post that the weapon was empty and was used because there were no laser pointers nearby: “In the end, I used the laser gun. Was it the smartest thing in the world do [sic]? Absolutely not.... No one in the room was rattled. The gun was never aimed at anyone. I would never point an empty firearm at anyone, let alone a loaded gun. I was pointing directly at the wall. The gun was never aimed at anyone.”
New Zealand: 60-year-old convicted of shining laser beams at ferries
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.