Three federal officers may have been permanently blinded in Portland, Ore., while trying to safeguard federal buildings. Antifa activists wielded "high intensity lasers" at the federal officers, according to The Blaze.
Federal agents were deployed to Portland in light of the intensive rioting that has rocked that city for 56 days.
Deputy Director of Federal Protective Service (FPS) Richard Cline told reporters on Tuesday that a group of more than 1,000 rioters gathered around the Mark O. Hatfield courthouse on Monday, July 20. The rioters tore at plywood barriers, fencing, set fires, and hurled objects at members of law enforcement.
"We have three officers who currently have eye injuries and they may not recover sight in those eyes from those laser attack," Cline said.
In response to the threat of lasers, FPS has acquired anti-laser glasses. "We have purchased anti-laser glasses, these are glasses that the officers are wearing now to prevent those eye injuries," Cline said.
"Typically, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., we see peaceful, a normal demonstration that you might see, a march, social advocacy," Cline said. He noted that FPS deals with about "900 of those" every year. FPS usually coordinates with demonstrators on where and when they can have said events and activities.
"But last night at midnight, violent demonstrators blocked the streets around the Hatfield Courthouse, the Justice Center... and Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, so the streets were blocked."
"At 12:55 a.m., we observed someone taking pictures of the water intake system at the Edith Green federal building. Later that night, Twitter user tweeted: 'So we can now shut off the water to the buildings the feds are staying in to make it a nightmare for them.'"
"At 1:20, protesters were beginning to bang on the walls of the Hatfield Courthouse... trying to tear the plywood off." Law enforcement had painted the plywood with a non-flammable coat.
"Several hard objects, including canned food and glass bottles, were thrown at our officers who were out to move them. Protesters advanced towards and engaged the officers, again throwing water bottles and other hard objects, fireworks, and using lasers."
Three officers currently have eye injuries due to green lasers used by the rioters. Those officers may not recover sight in the eyes that were damaged due to the severity of those injuries.
"At 3:29 this morning, the protesters smashed the glass of the courthouse with a fire extinguisher and attempted to throw commercial-grade fireworks inside the courthouse through the broken glass. Once again, our teams went outside to push them away."
Cline added that a number of arrests had been made as a response to the violence by rioters, including five on misdemeanor charges, which includes charges of assaulting a federal officer.
Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf added that "these individuals carried lasers, baseball bats, explosive fireworks, metal pipes, glass bottles, accelerants, and other weapons all targeting federal facilities and federal law enforcement," adding that "the city of Portland takes little to no action."