Protester accused of pointing powerful laser in Portland sergeant’s eyes, officials say

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A 36-year-old man allegedly shined a laser into a Portland Police sergeant’s eyes during a protest outside city hall, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said.

Bryan Kelley was charged with felony assault after he allegedly used a “high powered laser as a weapon” by shining it into a sergeant’s eyes, the DA said Friday.

“This investigation started during a mass demonstration on August 25 that continued into the morning of August 26, 2020,” the District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. “The Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team responded to a demonstration that targeted Portland City Hall. The protesters broke into and started vandalizing the building.”

On Aug. 26, Portland protesters gathered for the 90th consecutive day following the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody, according to OregonLive. Demonstrators marched to City Hall and some people in the crowd “graffitied the rotunda, smashed a door switch and broken at least three glass doors,” the news outlet reported.

Nearly two dozen protesters were arrested after police declared the demonstration a riot, according to KPTV.

A Portland Police Bureau sergeant allegedly saw Kelley “on multiple occasions” aim a blue laser into officers’ eyes, court documents said, according to the DA. The sergeant said “he had to look away” when the laser hit his eye.

The sergeant later reported having problems with his eye after he was hit with the laser, and his eyes were now impaired, according to the district attorney.

“The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office requested additional follow up to determine the strength of the laser and the extent of the victim’s injury,” the district attorney’s office said. “Law enforcement found the laser was so powerful that it would burn through paper and cause dry material to catch fire, according to court documents.”

A blue laser was found in Kelley’s back pocket when he was arrested, and Kelley admitted that he knew it could do damage to an eye, according to the DA.

“When a laser pointer is used as a weapon, as alleged in this case, we will continue to take appropriate legal action,” District Attorney Mike Schmidt said in the news release. “I want to thank the Portland Police Bureau for working with my office to further investigate these allegations. We remain committed to supporting peaceful demonstrations but when individuals divert and engage in violence against police officers or anyone else, we are here to hold them accountable.”

Kelley is charged with one count of assault and one count of unlawful use of a weapon, the DA said. He was also charged with “unlawful directing of a light from a laser pointer.”