Federal prosecutors are filing charges against a man who allegedly pointed a laser light at a police helicopter during a post-election protest in Denver on Nov. 4, CPR News has confirmed.
The US Attorney’s office said 23-year-old Logan Scott Debyle was in the Cheesman Park area at the time of the alleged incident.
The charge carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison. It’s a federal crime because, legally, the victim is an aircraft and the airspace is federal jurisdiction, federal prosecutors said.
Even small laser pointers can pose a danger to pilots, by distracting or even temporarily blinding them.
Debyle was among eight people arrested Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 by Denver Police during the protest that traveled from the park along East Colfax Avenue. At the time, Debyle was cited by Denver Police for alleged firework possession and disobeying a lawful order, though the city attorney didn’t file charges against him.
Debyle was with another man and allegedly pointed a green laser light at a police helicopter around 8:40 p.m. on Nov. 4, according to the affidavit released to CPR News Thursday. DPD officers found the men and when they tried to talk to them, the two fled.
Debyle allegedly “zig zagged” in an effort to avoid the police, the affidavit said.
Debyle was eventually taken into custody and a laser pointer was found in his jacket. He also had fireworks in his backpack, the affidavit said.
Debyle told police that he was “harassing the helicopter” and was “just sorta playing around with it,” according to the affidavit. The other man was not charged.
U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn has only filed federal charges against two other people involved in protests over politics or against police brutality throughout the year.
In August, he charged a Mexican national, Felix Missael Alva, who went to a protest in May with a large semi-automatic handgun and fired into the sky while police and news helicopters were hovering overhead. Another man was charged for smashing windows at an FBI guard shack at a different protest.
Debyle’s last name is listed as DeByle on the Metropolitan State University website and his Facebook account. His Instagram profile says he graduated this year with a bachelors of science in United States Policy. He was apparently on the cross-country team.