Federal authorities are prosecuting a San Diego man for allegedly pointing a laser at a police helicopter during a Black Lives Matter protest. Some lasers can blind pilots in mid-flight and cause a crash, according to authorities. Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a felony under U.S. law.
This week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the arrest and formal indictment of 38-year-old Stephen Glenn McLeod on the charge of aiming a laser at an aircraft. Magistrate Judge Allison Goddard notified McLeod of the charge against him and set his bond at $35,000.
According to prosecutors, on August 28, McLeod pointed a laser at a police helicopter several times.
“When aimed at an aircraft, a beam of light from a handheld laser can illuminate a cockpit, disorienting and temporarily blinding the pilots,” said Special Agent in Charge of FBI San Diego Suzanne Turner in a prepared statement.
On October 6, a federal grand jury handed down an indictment that was sealed by the judge who then issued an arrest warrant for McCleod. Court officials unsealed the indictment after the arrest.
In August 28, over 150 individuals took part in a Black Lives Matter protest in San Diego that ended with at least nine arrests, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. In addition to physically fighting with police, several individuals sprayed officers with mace and other chemicals while at least two men tried to blind police helicopter pilots.
2/2 During the stop a suspect from the crowd sprayed a chemical irritant spray at a line of officers.
In response to the assault, four people were arrested: One for Battery on an Officer & Resisting arrest with violence. The remaining three for resisting/obstructing officers.
— San Diego Police Department (@SanDiegoPD) August 29, 2020
If convicted on the federal charges, McLeod faces a maximum of five years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.