Federal officers began assaulting protesters with red laser sights tonight in Portland, Oregon. These assaults are far more threatening than the conduct for which multiple protesters are facing assault charges in federal court. According to the feds, it constitutes assault to shine a laser pointer on a federal officer. That is because some high powered laser pointers can cause serious eye damage, so pointing a laser creates a reasonable apprehension of bodily harm on the part of the person that it is pointed at, especially if that person knows about the dangers of the lasers like any police officer probably would. Therefore if a cop knowingly does the same thing to a citizen they are just as guilty.
In addition, a citizen has a more valid claim of apprehension due to the fact that the officers are using red dot laser sights attached to weapons. Any reasonable person that notices a camouflage wearing heavily armed federal officer painting them with a laser sight would fear for their lives. They would be afraid that the next thing that hits them will be a bullet. That constitutes simple assault under 18 U.S.C. 113(a)(5) (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/113).
The 9th Circuit defined simple assault in United States v. Chapman (https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1182814.html) holding:
“To constitute an assault, an action must be either a willful attempt to inflict injury upon the person of another, or a threat to inflict injury upon the person of another which, when coupled with an apparent present ability, causes a reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm. United States v. Dupree, 544 F.2d 1050, 1051 (9th Cir.1976)”
This streamer, who calls herself Black Zebra Productions (https://www.facebook.com/blackzebraproductions/) was just assaulted with a laser sight by a federal officer “acting within the scope of his office or employment” under Millbrook v. United States (https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/11-10362.html) and therefore the United States should be liable for his actions under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA waives sovereign immunity when law enforcement officers employed by the federal government intentionally assault someone.
Published at Sat, 18 Jul 2020 23:28:19 +0000