A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use
US: Driver aims laser pointer at motorist, causes own accident
The accident began when Scott Socea, 46, was driving behind a woman on Highway 138 in Phelan, San Bernardino County, California. Socea was allegedly upset that the woman was driving too slow. He passed her, merged in front of her, then stepped on his brakes. The woman flashed her headlights.
According to police, Socea then aimed a laser pointer with green light "directly" into the woman's eyes. The woman was blinded by the light, could not see, and rear-ended Socea's car.
There were no injuries.
Police were able to recover the laser pointer as evidence. Socea was cited for brandishing a weapon.
From KTLA News and Fox 11 News, and an October 8 press release from the Victor Valley Sheriff's Department
Commentary from LaserPointerSafety.com: This is one of the very few incidents where laser light aimed at a driver caused, or was a contributing factor, to a vehicular accident. We have documented perhaps two or three since 2000, with a few more additional reports that are unverified.
For more information, see Non-aviation incident news items tagged Car, Driver, Motorist, and Road rage.
Thank you to Greg Makhov for bringing this to our attention.
UK: €30000 fine for laser aimed at goalkeeper during European Cup semifinal
Three days later the English Football Association was fined €30000 (USD $35,600), primarily for the laser attack but also for two other disturbances (fireworks and booing) perpetrated by England fans.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) makes associations and clubs liable for inappropriate behavior on the part of their supporters "even if they can prove the absence of any negligence in relation to the organisation of the match." Article 16, section 2d of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations prohibits the use of "laser pointers or other similar electronic devices."
Schmeichel had told a referee that he was being targeted by a laser, prior to the penalty kick. After the match, he told the press "I did not experience it on the penalty kick because it was behind me on my right side. But I did experience it in the second half. I told the referee. And he went to say something to the other officials."
The goalkeeper did not indicate that the laser directly affected or impaired his play.
Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, with laser light on his face near his eye, just before the penalty kick.
According to the Daily Mail, "The torch-style gadgets have been a problem at sporting events for some time - affecting Wayne Rooney and Jose Mourinho - but in recent years have been rarely seen at football matches. There is a law relating to them being used to endanger vehicles but would not cover individuals. It may be the offence would fall under an assault category."
Metropolitan Police were said to be considering a criminal probe as the match site, Wembley Stadium, falls under their jurisdiction.
From the Daily Mail and MSN. Thank you to Alberto Kellner for first bringing this to our attention.
US: Car drives by homes, aiming lasers at them
Homeowners are concerned about the safety hazards of the lasers, which are of unknown power and intensity. The Clinton County Sheriff's office is worried as well about the lasers possibly being aimed at other cars or at aircraft.
Enlargement of a video, taken by a homeowner, showing two lasers being aimed out the side windows of a car.
UK: Protesters claim HS2 is aiming lasers at them; HS2 denies
A laser is aimed through the trees…
… and towards the camera lens
A protester said the laser beam was coming from the direction of the HS2 compound, and crossed the busy A413 roadway, posing a danger to passing vehicles.
HS2 reviewed the video. They said "none of HS2’s security teams carry laser pointers or pens – it would be irresponsible and unsafe to do so." They also pointed out that the video is not clear regarding the laser location or the person who is using the laser.
From the Bucks Free Press
UK: Green laser causes "grievous bodily harm" in daytime to man
Two other persons were illuminated by the laser but did not have eye effects.
Thames Valley Police are seeking information about the exposure.
From The Bucks Herald
NOTE: This appears related to protests over HS2 railway construction through the scenic Jones' Hill Wood area of Buckinghamshire. A few days later, a protester claimed that HS2 security personnel aimed a laser at their protest camp in the woods.
US: Reports of protesters aiming lasers at drivers near Oregon capitol
Three arrests were made, including 18-year-old Anthony Villaneda who was charged with five counts of unlawful pointing of a laser.
From Business and Politics Review and a press release issued March 28, 2021 by the Salem Police Department.
US: Coast Guard looking for info on Alaska laser strike
Coast Guard seeks information after laser strike hits Ketchikan boat crew
JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard is seeking information from the public in locating a suspect or suspects who pointed a green laser light at the cabin of a Station Ketchikan boat crew conducting underway operations Saturday night.
The laser strike occurred around 8:45 p.m., while the boat crew transited north in the Tongass Narrows. The point of origin reportedly came from an area near the intersection of Baranof Avenue and Carlanna Lakes Road.
The crew aboard the 45-foot Response Boat-Medium immediately averted their eyes and transited north out of range of the laser. Laser pointers can cause danger to Coast Guard boat crews due to glare, afterimage, flash blindness or temporary loss of night vision.
“Laser strikes jeopardize the safety of our boat crews,” said Capt. Stephen White, commander, Coast Guard Sector Juneau. “It is important for the public to understand that using these lasers irresponsibly is dangerous. It not only puts our boat crews at risk, but it also degrades our ability to respond in emergency situations, which means we may not be able to help if a mariner needs us.”
Causing the beam of a laser pointer to strike a vessel operating on the navigable waters of the United States is a felony crime under 46 U.S. Code Section 70014.
Coast Guard Investigative Service agents are working to investigate the incident. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact investigators at 907-463-2117 or anonymously at CGIS tips: https://www.p3tips.com/tipform.aspx?ID=878#
US: Coast Guard looking for info on Portland laser strike
Coast Guard seeks information after laser strike hits Portland boatcrew
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Coast Guard is seeking information from the public in locating a suspect or suspects who pointed a green laser light at the cabin of a Station Portland boatcrew conducting underway operations Tuesday night.
Coast Guard crews from Station Portland have been struck with lasers several times in the past six months.
The latest laser strike occurred around 10 p.m. and reportedly came from a building on the southern shore of the Willamette River west of the Fremont Bridge.
The crew aboard the 29-foot Response Boat-Small immediately conducted an on-scene health assessment after the strike and then safely transited back to base. Laser pointers can cause danger to Coast Guard boatcrews due to glare, afterimage, flash blindness or temporary loss of night vision.
"Laser incidents are incredibly dangerous, put the safety of our boatcrews in jeopardy and degrade our ability to navigate and respond to emergencies," said Lt. Cmdr. Colin Fogarty, enforcement chief, Sector Columbia River. "We ask the public to understand the dangers associated with playing with lasers and how they disrupt our crews from responding to mariners in distress."
Causing the beam of a laser pointer to strike a vessel operating on the navigable waters of the United States is a felony crime under 46 U.S. Code Section 70014.
Coast Guard Investigative Service agents are working to investigate the incident. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact investigators via: https://www.p3tips.com/tipform.aspx?ID=878#
A story in the Takoma News Tribune discusses the result of the health assessment: "The crew was evaluated on scene, but a spokesperson for Coast Guard 13th District Pacific Northwest told McClatchy News in a phone interview that it cannot release the crew’s medical information."
Ireland: €80,000 award to man injured by laser pen in school
It was sold to a classmate of Breen who brought it to St Kevin's College on May 25 2012. Another classmate accidentally aimed the laser's green beam at Breen while a teacher was out of the classroom. Breen immediately felt a "burning sensation." At hospital he was told his retina was burned. Breen has a permanent spot in the center of his right eye, removing about 10 percent of his vision and requiring him to wear glasses.
Breen sued the school, St Kevin's and the laser pen distributor, Syncron.
Justice Michael Hanna found that the school had no responsibility. He said the teacher was entitled to be out of the classroom on necessary business, and if the school was aware of the laser it would have taken action.
Breen's suit said the laser pen was more powerful than allowed by EU directives and thus was dangerous. The judge agreed, noting it should not have been offered for sale, and that Syncron was entirely responsible for Breen's injury. Syncron did not appear in court and did not defend itself.
It is not known if Breen will be able to collect the judgement from Syncron as they are no longer trading.
From Herald.ie and the Irish Times (March 4 2020 article about the lawsuit, March 5 2020 article about the judge's decision and award)
Commentary from LaserPointerSafety.com: This is the first case we are aware of where a civil suit has been brought against a laser pointer distributor or manufacturer for an eye injury. There have been cases where government agencies have taken administrative or criminal action against illegal imports.
Canada: Driver films laser coming from oncoming car
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: Police cars in Vienna, Va. hit multiple times by laser pointer
On May 2 2019, around 8:40 pm, "an officer was driving northbound on Nutley Street when his vehicle was struck multiple times with a green laser pointer. A Fairfax County Police Officer also advised his vehicles had been struck by the laser pointer that night. A similar incident happened to another officer a few weeks before this incident."
From Tysons Reporter
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
UK: Green laser "attack" on lifeboat; mission proceeds
The RNLI launching authority said “This was an appalling, reckless attack on our crew. They were navigating in near total darkness. The laser could have permanently damaged any of the crew’s vision had it shone directly into their eyes. Not only could it have done serious harm to our volunteers, it might well have jeopardized the rescue mission and put other lives at risk.”
None of the crew were harmed. The lifeboat continued its search; the missing person was eventually found by a police helicopter.
US: Rock concert fan injured by laser pointer-wielding crowd member
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.
Japan: Momentary exposure to Class 3B laser causes retinal injury
“In previously reported cases of retinal injury from red (He–Ne; 632 nm) laser pointers, the maximum output was 5 mW or lower (Class 3a), and gazing time was 10 s or longer. Higher-energy, green (532 nm) laser pointers are increasingly displacing red lasers and, here also, injuries have been reported. We report a case of retinal light damage caused, after a moment's gaze, by a high-output (Class 3b) green laser pointer unavailable to the general public in Japan that was brought from overseas.”
From “A case of retinal light damage by green laser pointer (Class 3b)”, Ueda, T., Kurihara, I. & Koide, R. Japanese Journal of Ophthalmology, July 2011, Vol. 55, Issue 4, pp 428-430, (2011) 55: 428. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10384-011-0031-5 First online July 1 2011.
Japan: Boy who routinely stared into a laser pointer develops lesion in one eye
At the age of 11, he had normal 20/20 (1.0) vision in the left eye, but 20/100 vision (0.20) in the right. Examination of the right eye showed a yellow lesion or fibrous tissue surrounded by a subretinal hemorrhage in the right macula. At age 13, examination showed the lesion was leaking on fluorescein angiography. At age 14, there was no change.
The doctors elected not to perform any treatment due to the patient’s age and mental condition.
From “Choroidal Neovascularization in a Child Following Laser Pointer-Induced Macular Injury”, Fujinami, K., Yokoi, T., Hiraoka, M. et al. Japanese Journal of Ophthalmology November 2010, Vol. 54, Issue 6, pp 631-633 (2010) 54: 631. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10384-010-0876-z First online January 21 2011.
US: Teen suffers central blind spot after older brother aims 50 mW laser at him
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
Greece: 9-year-old "repeatedly gazing" into laser causes hole in his eye
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.
US: California man aims laser at motorists and sheriff's helicopter
The California Highway Patrol received a number of calls from motorists who saw or were illuminated by the laser light.
James Gilbert Trujillo, 33, was arrested on suspicion of discharging a laser at an aircraft in the June 6 incident. He will appear in court June 11.
From the Victorville Daily Press and San Bernardino Sun. This news item was also filed under the Aviation incident news section.
US: UPDATED - Laser pointer harassing San Diego families
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.
Australia: Laser aimed at motorists including police officer
Motorists impeded by green laser light, Mount Pleasant
Three motorists, including one police officer, were travelling on Mackay Bucasia Road (Mount Pleasant area) when their eye-sight has been impeded by the deliberate shining of a green laser light from a near-by residence situated on the eastern side of the roadway.
The incident involving the police officer occurred at approximately 9:26pm on November 11 as the officer was travelling in a marked police car, travelling in-bound towards Mackay. The officer’s eye-sight was impeded twice by the shining of the green laser light. Police had received two reports of a similar nature from other motorists in the same time frame.
Despite patrols conducted on foot and by vehicle the address where the green laser light was activated from was not identified at the time. Police are conducting further investigations. Any one who may have information linked to these incidents is encouraged to contact the Mackay police station on 0749 683 444 or you can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 any time of the day and provide information anonymously. The police reference number is QP1701988362.
Actions such as these have the ability to temporarily effect the eye-sight of the driver of a vehicle – which can potentially create life endangering circumstances.
Greece: Protesters use laser against police
The protests marked the 44th anniversary of a 1973 student uprising against the military dictatorship.
Reuters photo from Telesur
UK: Teen aims green laser into policeman's eye
The incident happened September 28 2017 in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire.
From the Gazette
UK: Ambulance driver temporarily blinded by green laser
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
UK: "Gang" of pre-teens aiming laser at passing motorists
Passers-by saw the youths — described as a “gang” in a news report — and reported them to a passing member of the Bedworth Safer Neighborhood Team. An officer from the team said SNT is investigating the “potentially very dangerous” pranks. The officer also said “I would ask parents if these were their children to have a serious word with them.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or the confidential Crimestoppers hotline, 0800 555 111.
From the Coventry Telegraph
UK: Man assaulted with laser pen, falls, requires surgery
Police said that the victim “is likely to have to undergo surgery to repair damage caused to his back following this incident.”
The attack happened at about 9:20 pm on April 23 2017. Police did not release details until May 4.
From the Dorset Echo
Mexico: Laser aimed at NFL quarterback during game
The first incident happened near the end of the second quarter of play. When the game resumed after halftime, the laser was again aimed onto the field about two minutes into the third quarter, on running back Lamar Miller:
According to analyst John Harris of HoustonTexans.com, “The Texans security spent nearly the entire first half trying to find the culprit in the North end zone. There were state and city police in that end zone for most of the rest of the half. I don’t know if they ever found anyone….”
After the game, Osweiler was asked about the laser interference: “There were multiple times I saw a green laser coming from the stands. There were a couple of times it definitely hit me in the eye. And it was very noticeable…. Certainly, having a laser zoomed in on your eyeball definitely affects how you play.”
US: Multi-car crash due to laser being aimed at driver
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.
Italy: Prosecutor investigating manslaughter charges in three cases of eye damage to children from laser pointers
The cases were reported in mid-September 2015 by the St. Ursula Ophthalmology Hospital in Bologna. One of the children was 10; the other two were 13.
The injuries were caused by laser pointers bought by their parents (in two cases) or grandmother (in the third case) in markets in Florence or Bologna. One child had a slight loss of vision, another had significant loss in both eyes, and a third has almost lost his sight and is legally blind.
A public prosecutor, Valter Giovannini, has opened an investigation for aggravated manslaughter against unknown assailants. This seems to indicate that in all three cases, the laser pointer bought by or for the children was used against them by another person.
As a result of the report, Carabinieri NAS (Nuclei Antisofisticazioni e Sanità or “Anti Fraud Squad”), a special police force operating under the Italian ministry of health, seized fifteen illegally-sold laser pointers.
The hospital warned the public not to purchase green laser pointers sold “on the street, in the stalls and fairs.” A spokesperson said higher-powered pointers such as those aimed at players in stadiums were to be avoided. Professional laser pointers used in lectures should not be a problem.
From Corriere di Bologna. Thanks to Alberto Kellner Ongaro for bringing this to our attention.
US: Paparazzi call police after Jennifer Garner's bodyguard aims a laser pointer at them
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
Wales: Laser from shore delays lifeboat sea rescue
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
US: Tennessee man "nearly causes accident' aiming laser pointer at cars on Interstate
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
From WDEF, the Chattanoogan, and the Times Free Press
US: Two more laser pointer incidents at U.S. football games
Hawaii college game interrupted by laser pointer
On Saturday October 11 2014, a football game between the University of Hawaii and the University of Wyoming was interrupted in the fourth quarter. A green laser light had been spotted on the field near Wyoming’s quarterback.
The referee stopped the game announced over the public address speakers, “There's a member of the stadium that has a laser pointer that continues to shine in the eyes of the offensive players. We're currently seeking game management and security to resolve that situation." The person was not found.
University of Hawaii officials said they believe the laser was more powerful than classroom pointers, which legally are limited to 5 milliwatts.
Under Hawaii Revised Statues, Chapter 136, no one under the age of 18 is allowed to possess a laser pointer. Shining a laser at a person can lead to up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
University of Hawaii athletics director Ben Jay was asked by KHON if he knew of any previous laser pointer incident. Jay told the TV station, “To my knowledge ... it really hasn’t happened at a college football game in recent memory that I can recall. But I think the spate of some of the recent NFL games that have been affected by lasers probably prompted this person to do such a really idiotic act.”
There may have been another laser pointer at the game, as well. A person in the press box told KHON he saw a red light “dancing for about two seconds or so .... which means there were probably at least two laser pointers used at game time.”
A spokesperson for the Mountain West athletic conference said he was not aware of any other laser incidents at Mountain West venues. The 12-college conference oversees intercollegiate sports including baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. He told KITV, “We have already communicated with all appropriate parties within the Conference to take whatever measures necessary to address and eliminate the use of laser pointers.”
Aloha Stadium officials said they would step up bag checks but that finding laser pointers on entering fans would be difficult.
From KHON2.com (story 1 and follow-up story 2) and KITV.com
Michigan high school game delayed due to laser pointer
On Friday October 10 2014, a football game between Walled Lake Western high school and Walled Lake Central high school was delayed for more than 10 minutes in the second quarter. A laser pointer was used to distract Walled Lake Western players during the game. According to MLive.com, “Play was stopped for an extended period of time as officials, police officers and other members of the school's security staff gathered to discuss the matter and attempt to put a stop to it. The culprit was not located, though no further issues arose involving a laser pointer.”
Walled Lake, Michigan is about 26 miles northwest of Detroit’s Ford Field, where the October 5 2014 laser pointer incident occurred during an NFL game between the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills. Walled Lake is also 6 miles southwest of West Bloomfield Township, where Mark (or Marko) Beslach lives; he is the Detroit fan identified by ESPN and ABC News as the person who used the laser during the NFL game and was subsequently banned indefinitely from Ford Field.
Map showing Walled Lake, West Bloomfield Township, and Detroit in relation to each other
US: UPDATED - NFL fan banned from Detroit games, faces charge for aiming laser at football players
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.
Australia: Lasers on rugby player in Argentina leads league to investigate
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:
From the Courier-Mail and greenandgoldrugby.com. SANZAR stands for ‘South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby”
US: UPDATED - Laser aimed at NFL team quarterback, holder
The game was between the Buffalo Bills (visitors) and the Detroit Lions (home team). The laser pointer was aimed at Bills holder Colton Schmidt just before an unsuccessful 50-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter. Kicker Dan Carpenter was upset after the kick, talking to a referee until officials told him to return to the sideline. WIVB TV reported that the referee could be seen mouthing the words “No, I didn’t see it” to Carpenter.
In a post-game press conference, Bills coach Doug Marrone said the issue was resolved before the end of the game. He characterized the laser incident as less of a distraction and more of a motivator for Carpenter, who won the game with a successful 58-yard field goal with four seconds left to play.
Click to read more...
US: UPDATED: Laser said to cause serious eye injury at Burning Man 2014
DeVaul’s colleague was working as a volunteer when she was struck in the left eye by a “high-power, hand-held green laser, most likely a 1W 532 nm toy from China”.
Burning Man took place August 25 through September 1, 2014, at Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. As of the September 5 post, DeVaul said the woman “still has not regained vision in her left eye and it is possible that she never will.”
Click to read more...
UK: Laser light forces motorist to stop; police looking for perpetrator
According to police, “We are investigating an incident of causing danger to road users under the Road Traffic Act. A motorist was going around the roundabout near the Pavilion and a green laser light was shone directly in his eyes, causing him to stop his vehicle. We are appealing to the public. Were you around at that time? Did you see the incident? Were you subject to someone shining a laser light on you?”
From the Herald Express
US: Florida man buys laser pointer; arrested hours later for aiming at motorists, officer
Nevarez had purchased the laser earlier in the evening. Riding as a passenger in his girlfriend’s car, he began aiming the laser at oncoming cars, including the officer’s car.
After later told a reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal that he did not know it was illegal to misuse a laser pointer. He said he had been pointing it at a treeline and did not intend it to shine it at anyone’s eyes.
A defense attorney quoted by the newspaper said “If you are going to criminalize the conduct or behavior, then the government needs to explain and make the public aware why their action poses a potential danger.”
From the Daytona Beach News-Journal
US: Man arrested for aiming laser at drivers
The unnamed man was charged with disorderly conduct and with assault and battery. Although there were also two reports of a green laser being aimed from the Newton area at aircraft, the man was not charged or associated directly with those incidents.
A hearing is scheduled for March 25 in Newton District Court.
From the Boston Globe
Romania: Report of eye injury from Class 4 laser
The injured person is from Romania. He was hit in the left eye for 1 second or less from a distance of about 2 feet (~60 cm). He saw a dot in the center of his left eye and could not read properly with that eye. He went to an eye doctor who said there was a small retinal burn. After four days he said the vision improved a bit. He was scheduled for a follow-up exam one month after the injury date.
He asked LaserPointerSafety.com about any possible outcome and treatment. Experts we consulted said his symptoms and vision will probably improve. They suggested a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or indomethcin. More aggressive treatment such as steroids (orally or injected into the eye) have been done with “often good” results. The side effects of steroids should be considered. They also indicated that the follow-up examination is important.
The laser was marked “<3000mW”, “Wavelength 532nm +/-10” and “Class IIIb Laser Product”. The label is incorrect, since Class IIIb is between 5 and 500 mW. A laser that is in the thousands of milliwatts would be Class 4.
The laser appears to be a “JD-303” from China; a link is here. The cost is US $5-7 per laser in a minimum order of 30 pieces. (They can supply up to 20,000 lasers per week.) It has a nominal power of 1 watt. The Alibaba web site does say “This is not a toy for your children, this is a high intensity laser pointer for adults only!”
Excerpt from the webpage for the laser believed to have caused the injury
Thanks to Leon McLin and Bruce Stuck for their assistance in this case.
Romania: Lionel Messi targeted with laser at soccer match
Messi is lit up by a laser near his face
From the Daily Mail
US: Man targets soccer player with laser; injures policeman during arrest
According to police, Marquez was causing a disturbance by shining a green laser in the eyes of persons at Players Indoor Sports Center. He was not on either team and police do not know why he was at the game. No injuries were reported by any of the targeted soccer players.
Marquez, a convicted burglar, was charged with felony resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury and two counts of disorderly conduct/breach of peace.
From the Naperville Sun
UK: Football fan arrested after aiming laser at Chelsea manager
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
US: Referee stops ACC championship football game due to laser pointer on quarterback
The light, coming from the player’s left side, briefly hit his eye area. It probably did not enter his pupil due to the side angle. Here is an image captured from video.
The laser was aimed primarily at his helmet:
The referee stopped the game, announcing over the public address system “There is a laser being pointed on the field from the stands. It needs to be stopped with security please. Take a look at section 343.”
UK: Bus driver treated at hospital after laser pen attack
From the Shields Gazette
Australia: Lasers aimed at drivers; perpetrators warned
From the Coffs Coast Advocate
Canada: B.C. driver said to have possible eye damage from green laser
The RCMP said the woman may have suffered unspecified eye damage in the February 27 2013 assault. They asked for the public’s assistance in finding the female driver and male passenger of the Audi.
From The Province
US: Man says laser aimed 1/4 mile away caused retinal injury
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.
US: UPDATED - St. Louis teen given probation for Aug 2012 lasing of baseball players
The plea agreement dropped a second charge of using a laser beam to harass or annoy another person. He could have been fined up to $500 and been jailed for between 30 and 90 days (sources differ as to the maximum sentence for this offense).
Bogard’s lawyer said his client made “an extreme error in judgement”. He also said that Bogard was not the person “who actually did most of the harassing [and] disturbing the peace.”
A St. Louis official said the plea agreement had been cleared with the baseball Cardinals.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Additional information is at LaserPointerSafety.com’s original story. It includes an August 17 update about the resignation of the person who controlled the stadium suite where the laser pointer misuse originated.
US: Teen partially blinded in one eye due to laser pointer
Retinal specialist Dr. Ramana Moorthy saw a “yellowish kind of spot here with yellow black flecks [that] shouldn’t be there.” She said the injury was permanent. The boy’s father said he considered the laser pointer a toy, and that he had no idea that laser light was dangerous. He said other parents should throw away their children’s pointers.
From WTHR.com. Thanks to Jochen Pernsteiner for bringing this to our attention.
Egypt: Protesters shine laser pointers during civil unrest
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
US: UPDATED - Teen arrested for lasing at Cardinals baseball game
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.
Ukraine: Laser aimed at French players during Euro 2012 match
Later, after France won 2-0, a green laser was aimed at the chest of France’s Adil Rami as he celebrated the victory:
Story from the Daily Mail, photo from Daylife. Thanks to Tim Cooper for bringing this to our attention, as well as “Boatbuilder”.
France: UPDATED - Kanye West calls out concertgoer for hitting him with a laser
In a fan video posted to YouTube, West began a song that used theatrical lasers (e.g., part of his show). A few seconds into the song, West abruptly stopped and pointed into the audience. He angrily said “You see this guy right here with the green laser? Don't f**k with everybody's show. This is not a fucking game.” The laser was apparently aimed at West again, who said “You're going to get f**ked up and kicked out, I don't want that sh*t. So chill the f**k out.” During the incident, the crowd booed the concert-disrupting laser.
From ABC News, Huffington Post, and other sources. Another YouTube video taken by a fan is here.
UPDATE June 12 2012: Kanye West similarly berated an audience member who threw a coin on stage during a June 9 concert in Dublin. West stopped in the middle of a song and said “Start again… I ain't trying to make excuses but y'all threw a f*cking coin up here and threw me all the way off. Don't throw that hard sh*t up here while I'm performing. Seriously. You f*cked it up for everybody, I was having a perfect show. Flawless victory. Don't throw no sh*t on the stage." From Ology.com.
US: Again, laser hits San Diego harbor officer who goes to hospital
A Harbor Police spokesperson told LaserPointerSafety.com “neither officer was injured in the latest incident” and “the laser used in this incident was much less powerful than the one used” in the May 4 2012 lasing, when two San Diego Harbor Police officers were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center after their boat was lased. One officer was said to have had a temporary injury in one eye.
Approximate locations of the lasers (green triangles) and Harbor Police boats (red squares).
US: UPDATED - San Diego harbor officers injured by laser
Officers Jennifer McMaster and Robert Twardy were patrolling near the Shelter Island Fishing Pier when both illuminated directly in their right eye. Twardy said “I noticed that I had a bright spot, like a residual flash that you kind of get when a camera flashes in your eye.” He suffered a “burning sensation”. Both officers were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center.
Twardy said that McMaster had a more direct hit, was in pain, and complained of blindness. She had possible burns to her retinas, and took time off to recover, according to the Los Angeles Times. She will make a full recovery, according to an NBC San Diego story. [See Update 1, at the bottom of this story after clicking the “Read More” link, for more medical information.]
Click to read more...
Canada: UPDATED - Laser beams aimed at police during St. Patrick's Day riot
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
US: UPDATED - Parent at HS game aims laser at opposing team; charged with disturbing the peace
On February 29, a Division I girls’ hockey playoff game took place in the Boston-area town of Winthrop, Mass. Parents of the Medway-Ashland team told FOX 25 TV news that a Winthrop parent was using a laser pointer “through the game” and especially in the third period. School officials noticed the laser and escorted the parent out.
Winthrop’s athletic director said no players were hit by the laser “as far as he knew.” FOX 25 reported that the pointer did go into the eyes of players, and that a Medway-Ashland goalie reportedly had headaches after the game.
The laser could have affected the score, since Medway-Ashland had been leading early in the third period, but Winthrop came back in the final minutes to win 3-1. M-A parents wanted like the game replayed, and the coach claimed that five or six M-A players said they were distracted by the laser during the game. Winthrop’s athletic director denied that the laser had any effect on the score. The game will be reviewed but the TV news reported that “it is unlikely the outcome will be reversed.”
From FOX 25 News and Wicked Local Medway We have put up a special page here at LaserPointerSafety.com which gives additional facts and informed commentary about this case.
UPDATE, March 2 2012:
- The superintendent of Winthrop schools wants criminal charges filed against the laser-pointing dad. The official has turned a videotape of the game over to police.
- The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association says the game will stand. MIAA issued a letter denying an appeal by Medway-Ashland parents, based on referees saying the game was fair.
- CBS WBZ-TV quoted Medway-Ashland goalie Kathryn Hamer as saying “It’s kind of like when you look at the sun and then you look away you see that spot and you can’t see for a couple of seconds. You shake your head and try to get it out of your system and just keep focusing, but it’s difficult.” Hamer and her father said the laser directly affected her ability to defend against Winthrop’s first goal.
From FOX 25 News and CBS Boston
UPDATE 2, March 3 2012: FOX 25 is reporting that a laser pointer was used in a similar way during in a game one year ago against Winthrop. A former coach of the Wilmington High School girls’ hockey team says the 8th grade goalie complained about the laser pointer being flashed in her eyes. The coach discussed this with Winthrop’s coach, who later told him “the problem was taken care of” so no complaint was filed. It is not known if the parent ejected after the Feb. 29 2012 incident is the same person from the Wilmington game a year ago. From FOX 25 News and 7 News WHDH.
UPDATE 3, March 4 2012: WHDH TV confirmed that the man ejected during the Wilmington game in 2011 was the same person who was ejected during the Medway-Ashland game. From 7 News WHDH.
UPDATE 4, March 7 2012: Joseph Cordes, 42, will be arraigned on a criminal charge of disturbing the peace. He told CBS station WBZ that he “I feel like a complete jerk. It was very stupid, completely immature….” and that he had humiliated his daughter.
Screen capture of Joseph Cordes, from WBZ-TV
The Boston Globe quoted the father of goalie Kathryn Hamer as saying “I’m not sure if disturbing the peace is quite enough, because I think this man had a malicious intent.” Phillip Hamer has not decided whether to file civil charges. He said his daughter had “momentary confusion” from the laser exposure, but is “fine now.” From the Boston Herald, the Boston Globe, and CBS Boston WBZ-TV.
US: Juvenile temporarily blinds officer, who remains out for evaluation
Patrolman Jason Blustein was driving to investigate a burglar alarm when the beam went into his left eye and he “briefly lost vision.” Blustein continued to the alarm site where he found it was a false alarm. He then went to the home where the beam had been aimed from a second-floor window. He spoke with a woman who called her son downstairs. A laser pointer was confiscated and the boy was arrested. Police say “the juvenile was upset and said he didn’t mean it.”
From the Montville NJ Patch
Greece: Laser pointers continue to be used in riots
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.
UK: UPDATED - Train stops, driver goes to hospital, after laser pen attack
A police spokesman said the laser light “not only distracted the driver and potentially damaged his eye, but it also could have had serious safety consequences for the passengers. The driver's attention was averted from his job of safely controlling the train…. He is currently awaiting the results of medical assessments on his eye and is in some degree of pain. We are hopeful he'll make a full recovery but, at this stage, he is in some discomfort."
Police are asking for assistance in finding two youths seen on a footbridge off Southfield Road in White City.
From this is Gloucestershire and BBC News Gloucestershire
UPDATE February 14 2012: The train driver “is recovering and should return to work next week”, according to a spokesperson for First Great Western quoted by BBC News Gloucestershire. The story also said that there had been six laser-train incidents on the FGW network from January 2011 through February 14 2012, and that the February 9 incident had the most serious impact on the driver.
UK: Footballer scores winning goal despite laser pen attack
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
US: Drunk arrested on Christmas Eve for lasing police car
King said he was “kidding around” while demonstrating the laser to friends. He was given a $75 ticket for shining a laser pointer to harass or alarm. A court date of January 13 was set for Bristol Superior Court.
From MyRecordJournal.com and Southington Patch
US: Drivers in Pa. lased by two teens
From ABC27 and Reading Eagle
Northern Ireland: Youths aim laser pen at drivers
Police are searching for the perpetrators.
From the Derry Journal
UK: Laser aimed at train driver near Gainsborough station
Officers searched for suspects but did not find anyone. British Transport Police warn the public against misuse of laser pens.
UK: Laser pen aimed at vehicles and plane
Police received several calls that a group of people in a silver people carrier was shining a green laser on the A40 near Witney, at about 8 p.m on September 15 2011. Police also were contacted by air traffic control staff after an aircraft was targeted with a green laser at 8 p.m. The police declined to release details of the flight or its effect, if any, on the flight until statements had been taken from the pilots and crew. The fine for aiming at aircraft is up to £2,500.
From the Witney Gazette. This news item is being cross-posted in on the News/Aviation incidents page as well.