Brooklyn man who flashed laser at NYPD chopper, disorienting pilot, told cop exactly what he was doing

Laser Light (frankieleon/Flickr)

He was laser-focused on the truth.

A Brooklyn man accused of pointing a laser at an NYPD helicopter readily admitted what he was doing when a cop caught him in the act, according to a criminal complaint.

“I’m flashing a light on this helicopter,” James Dowling, 42, told the officer, according to the complaint filed against Dowling in Brooklyn Criminal Court Wednesday.

The cop had spotted the suspect on the roof of a building at the Red Hook Houses on Columbia St., shining a green laser at a chopper monitoring George Floyd protests in lower Manhattan on Tuesday night. .

Dowling, who was released without bail on reckless endangerment and other charges Wednesday evening, had a flashlight and a little green laser in his possession. A responding officer took both lights from Dowling.

The helicopter pilot said the laser and flashlight distracted him and made it “more dangerous to fly,” according to the criminal complaint.

Nationwide, the Federal Aviation Administration counted more than 2,000 incidents where people pointed lasers at aircraft from Jan. 1 to March 31. Five of those incidents occurred in New York.

The FAA recorded 6,852 laser incidents in 2020, up 12% from the 6,136 incidents reported in 2019.


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