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At least three federal officers trying to defend the government’s courthouse in Portland, Ore., may suffer permanent blindness after being ‘shot’ in the eyes by lasers fired by violent protesters, Fox News reported Wednesday.
Quoting sources, the network said that the vision loss could be permanent, as officers have been expected to fend off crowds up to 1,000 people for more than 53 consecutive nights.
During confrontations with violent demonstrators earlier this week, the network said that one protester even threatened to cut off water to the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse agents have been protecting.
In a press conference Tuesday, Richard Cline, deputy director of operations for the Federal Protective Service, said a crowd of more than 1,000 “rioters” besieged and surrounded the courthouse, tearing down plywood covers over doors and windows before launching objects, including incendiary devices, through broken windows at officers inside.
In addition, rioters blocked adjacent streets and set a number of fires.
Rioters have set fire to the Portland federal courthouse. #PortlandRiots #antifa – from Andy Ngo on Twitter
This is why President Trump is sending Federal law enforcement to Chicago and Portland because local government are failing to do their jobs.https://t.co/WlciDY6tmM
— RIRepublicans.us (@RIRepublicans) July 23, 2020
“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.”
He added that the FPS was procuring anti-laser googles for officers to wear to protect their vision moving forward.
In response to the encroaching crowds and increasing threats of violence and fires, federal officers deployed pepper balls and tear gas to clear the crowds. At the time, Cline said federal officers observed one individual snapping photos of the water intake for the Edith Green Federal Building, also under FPS protection.
“So we can shut off the water to the buildings the feds are staying in to make it a nightmare for them,” one Twitter user posted, Cline noted.
Three federal officers — one a U.S. Marshal, another a member of the FPS, and the third unknown — were injured early Tuesday. One of them was struck by a glass bottle thrown by a rioter.
“Red, green and purple lasers were aimed by rioters at federal officers through the courthouse doors while one group used a strobe light on the building. A commercial-grade mortar firework was fired in the vicinity of the Hatfield Courthouse front doors,” Fox News reported.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Left-wing extremist who has demanded that federal agents leave Portland, insisted through wafting tear gas Wednesday as even more people besieged the federal courthouse that nothing warranted their response.
.@tedwheeler says, “I saw nothing that provoked this response” when asked about his thoughts on federal law enforcement deploying tear gas.
The building had been set on fire and rioters were throwing explosives. #PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/M21iOcDfLa
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 23, 2020
“This is a egregious overreaction on the part of the federal officers. There was nothing that I saw that warranted this reaction,” he claimed in a video uploaded by Portland-based investigative journalist Andy Ngo.
Other video show demonstrators and rioters setting fires near the federal courthouse and Portland City Hall.
Be a shame if this video exposing Ted Wheeler went viral. Please do not RT. https://t.co/ZvU6qRo1YP
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) July 23, 2020
An arson attack on the Portland federal courthouse. #antifa #PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/WOd8QrMWZK
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 23, 2020
“I watched the live feed. Wheeler was standing at the fence & watched the rioters throw trash over the fence, throw firecrackers at the trash & start the fire,” wrote a Tweeter user who claimed to be an eyewitness.
“A few rioters jumped the fence & added more trash. Rioters were warned repeatedly. Wheeler is an absolute liar,” the user added.
I watched the live feed. Wheeler was standing at the fence & watched the rioters throw trash over the fence, throw firecrackers at the trash & start the fire. A few rioters jumped the fence & added more trash. Rioters were warned repeatedly. Wheeler is an absolute liar. pic.twitter.com/a6DbpbLsma
— Joanne_Lopez_Dow🇺🇸 (@dow_lopez) July 23, 2020
At 12:45 a.m., people broke through the plywood and started pounding on windows with metal objects. At least one window was broken, police said. As hundreds of people packed into the portico on the west side of the courthouse, federal officers began dispersing the crowd using a ‘variety of munitions,’ according to police.
Local Portland police also warned residents to stay out of the area because of the violence.
Avoid the area around SW 3rd and SW Main. Portland Police is aware that federal law enforcement have deployed CS gas. Hundreds of people are scattering around the adjacent streets. People are throwing projectiles and are armed with clubs hammers and other weapons. Avoid the area
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) July 21, 2020
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