Portland Police says officers targeted with 'powerful green laser' in protest


(Reuters) - Portland Police said on Tuesday some of its officers had been targeted with a "powerful green laser" capable of causing permanent eye damage when some 200 protesters marched on the Portland Police Association (PPA) building late on Monday.

However, they said in a statement the protest largely passed off peacefully, with no injuries and no arrests. A smoke canister was used to help officers leave the scene safely.

The police had warned the protesters on Monday evening that they would use tear gas if the crowd attempted to enter or damage the building.

"Failure to follow this order may subject you to the use of crowd control agents, including, but not limited to tear gas and/or impact weapons," the police said in a tweet on Monday night.

"Anyone participating in criminal behavior, including burglary and/or vandalism, are subject to arrest and/or citation."

In Portland, some demonstrators have previously attacked a federal courthouse and others have gathered to speak out against racism and police brutality following the May 25 death of George Floyd.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr came under fire from Democratic lawmakers earlier this month for sending federal officers to disperse protesters in Portland.

The police statement on Tuesday said the PPA building had been defaced with a large amount of graffiti. It also said somebody had broken through protective plywood covering and also broken a window. The amount of damage was not yet known.

"The crowd remained for several hours in the street, but they were otherwise peaceful", the police said.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Gareth Jones)

Originally published