Man who acknowledged pointing laser at helicopter gets probation

A prosecution memo says Garces aimed his high-powered laser pointer at the KGW helicopter, illuminating the helicopter's cockpit with blue light and causing the pilot to suffer "temporary flash blindness."

Posted: Mar. 13, 2018 9:57 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A 25-year-old man has been sentenced to two years of probation for aiming a laser pointer at a TV news helicopter as it hovered over the Burnside Bridge and recorded a Donald Trump protest in November 2016.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Monday that Fernando Garces pleaded guilty in November to aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. He had no history of criminal convictions.

A prosecution memo says Garces aimed his high-powered laser pointer at the KGW helicopter, illuminating the helicopter's cockpit with blue light and causing the pilot to suffer "temporary flash blindness." A photojournalist with a camera also temporarily couldn't see.

The memo says the pilot took "evasive action" and after about a minute regained enough vision to fly the helicopter.

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