Portland, OR – A rioter accused of shining a powerful blue laser capable of starting a fire at an officer’s eyes has been indicted by a grand jury.
Bryan Kelley, 36, was charged Tuesday with unlawful use of a weapon, second-degree assault, and two counts of unlawful directing of light from a laser pointer, KATU reported.
According to the indictment, Kelley intentionally aimed the high-power laser at an officer’s eyes during the overnight rioting at Portland City Hall on Aug. 25.
A Portland Police Bureau (PPB) sergeant said that Kelley shined the light into his eyes multiple times throughout the night, according to court documents.
The sergeant said he was forced to look away because the beam was so intense, according to court documents.
Officers later arrested Kelley near the intersection of Southwest Jefferson Street and Southwest Fourth Avenue, KATU reported.
He allegedly had the blue laser device in his back pocket at the time of his arrest.
PPB detectives later tested the laser by aiming it at a piece of cardboard, according to court documents.
The beam was powerful enough to make the cardboard burn, police said.
“This blue laser in particular can heat paper so hot that it will make it smoke within 3 seconds,” the department said in a press release at the time.
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said on Tuesday that the laser burned through paper and caused “dry material to catch fire,” FOX News reported.
PPB also shared video footage of the laser’s capability.
Schmidt said that the sergeant suffered injury and impairment to his eye as a result of the incident, according to KATU.
Department of Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said during a Senate hearing in August that many federal officers experienced temporary blindness after rioters shined lasers at their eyes, FOX News 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 explained. “You also get what’s called flash blindness, think of it as the old Kodak cameras where you’d get that blue spot and you can’t quite see your entire field of vision for a period of time.”
Kelley was released from jail after his initial arrest, but was later apprehended again after PBB detectives served a warrant at his home in connection with the riots, PPB said in a press release.
“An assault on the police is an assault on the community we are sworn to protect,” PPB Chief Chuck Lovell said. “I commend the officers out there every day and night, and detectives whose follow up makes arrests like this possible.”
“Anyone hiding behind legitimate protests to commit acts of violence should know the investigations keep going even if you get released after your initial arrest,” Chief Lovell added.