MIAMI (CBS4) – An 18-year-old Miami man is expected to appear in federal court for allegedly pointing a green laser at a Miami-Dade Police Department helicopter.
The incident happened on January 18 near Northwest 79th Street and 5th Avenue.
The Miami-Dade chopper pilot saw the green laser light from the air and alerted ground units. Police arrested Danny’s Diaz and his cousin Ramon Canales. Legal documents show the duo took off when police arrived but when they were caught police found the laser in Diaz’s pocket.
CBS4 Silva Harapetian tracked down Diaz and asked him what he was thinking when he got caught.
“I was shocked,” Diaz said. He added he has never been in trouble and was scared.
When asked if he knew that the consequences of pointing a green laser at a chopper could mean jail time, Diaz said it was all a mistake.
“It was an accident. If I knew that that was wrong I would have never done it,” said Diaz.
His cousin would not speak with CBS but his mother said she never thought that the boys playing with lasers could get in trouble.
Pointing Green lasers at helicopter pilots can cause damage. CBS 4 chopper pilot Neale Cockman said it is a distraction and in some cases can cause temporary or permanent blindness.
“I would pose a question to everyone how would you like to be in an aircraft where the pilot is blinded even for a few seconds? It’s extremely dangerous,” said Cockman.
There have been a number of similar incidents in Miami including one last week. There was no arrest made in that case. Reports of pilots being distracted have surfaced around the country with a number of people being arrested.
In the case of Diaz, he is expected in court on Tuesday morning. He is facing a fine and/or a maximum of five years in prison.