Three federal officers may have been permanently blinded by lasers protesters used Monday in Portland, according to Federal Protective Service (FPS) Deputy Director of Operations Richard Cline.
At a press conference Tuesday, Cline said over 1,000 people surrounded the Hatfield Federal Courthouse that night and began removing plywood coverings from the windows and throwing objects, some of which were incendiary, at officers inside.
The crowd also vandalized the building with spray paint, blocked the adjacent intersections, and set several fires, the Associated Press (AP) article noted.
The report continued:
“When officers responded to put out these fires, glass bottles were thrown and lasers – which can cause permanent blindness – were shined in their eyes,” Cline said. “We have three officers who currently have eye injuries and they may not recover sight in those eyes from those laser attacks.”
The federal officers responded by deploying pepper balls and tear gas, the article said, adding that FPS later purchased anti-laser glasses for the officers to prevent eye injuries.
Journalist Andy Ngo tweeted video footage Tuesday of rioters removing plywood from the federal courthouse building’s windows and trying to break the glass:
Rioters were successful in tearing off part of the protective barrier of the Portland federal courthouse. They then try to shatter the glass so that they can start a fire inside. They had some success doing that two weeks ago. Video by @NancyRomm. #antifa pic.twitter.com/KpcNi7mp0S
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 21, 2020
During an interview Thursday on Fox Business Network’s Evening Edit, Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said the violence in Portland could end if the police did not have their hands tied, Breitbart News reported.
Look, if the mayor would open up and let the Portland Police Department do their job, you would see this violence end overnight. But they can’t. They are directed, and this mayor, not only is he tying their hands, but he’s actually forbidden them — the city council — to share information with federal agents and officers that are there. That is going to result in deadly consequences when law enforcement officers do not share information. It’s absolutely reckless and irresponsible.
President Trump praised the federal officers on Monday and said, “We’re going to have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you,” the AP report noted.
“In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve been there three days, and they really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time,” he concluded.