A California inmate is claiming in a lawsuit that deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department blasted him with a heat beam that took off his hair and gave him second-degree burns.
Andrew Lars Fuchs, a 23-year-old software engineer, was arrested August 17, 2012, for walking around West Hollywood, Calif., while naked, his federal civil rights suit contends. The suit described Fuchs as someone who suffers from “schizophrenia and/or manic bipolar disorder.”
After being booked in the Los Angeles County Jail, Fuchs claimed in his suit that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies shot him with the heat beam after he tried to get a drink of water from the sink in his cell.
Fuchs’ lawsuit went on to describe his alleged injuries from the heat ray.
"The hair on plaintiff's extremities was burned off, and eventually the remaining portions of the hair follicles were pushed below the skin surface, creating an optimal environment for infection to spread into plaintiff's bloodstream," the suit said, according to Courthouse News Service.
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Fuchs is suing Los Angeles County, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca, 10 officers in the sheriff’s department and Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN), the alleged maker of the heat ray.
The suit claims Barca said his department would start using an “assault intervention device, developed by Raytheon in the Los Angeles County Jail System (‘heat beam device’)” back in August 2010.
"Raytheon has admitted in marketing materials published in 2006 that the aforementioned device 'is designed, developed and manufactured by Raytheon Company. Raytheon is the only company producing this millimeter wave capability,’” the lawsuit goes on to say. "The United States government did not approve the specifications of the heat beam device marketed and sold to LASD, which was designed by Raytheon only.”
Fuchs describes the device as firing “an invisible electro-magnetic radiation heat beam, causing unbearable pain to inmates. The heat beam device fires a high-powered beam of extremely high frequency waves at a target. The wave energy works on a similar principle as a microwave oven, exciting the water and fat molecules in the skin, and instantly heating them via dielectric heating.
"The heat beam device has caused second- and third-degree radiation bums on the body's surface, and upon the re-triggering of the heat beam device against the same target it will produce permanent injury or death,” the suit continues. "Over-exposure by both operators and targets exposes them to potential long-term damage, including cancer.”
The lawsuit contends that the heat ray “unnecessarily inflicts severe pain on inmates, subjecting them to an excessive force tantamount to torture, in clear violation of the Eighth Amendment and Due Process Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.”