Federal officials in America sought to acquire a heat ray and accumulated approximately 7,000 rounds of ammunition before clearing a peaceful protest in Lafayette Square in Washington DC, according to an Army National Guard Major who was there.
Major Adam DeMarco penned his claims in a letter to the House of Representatives in August in response to follow-up questions he was asked after testifying before the House Committee on Natural Resources in June.
The requests for a heat ray were made as local law enforcement sought to clear protesters gathered in Lafayette Square following the death of George Floyd. President Trump had ordered the crowds to be cleared so he could conduct a photo op holding a bible outside a nearby church. During the shoot, he declared himself the “law and order President”.
The contents of the letter were first reported by NPR in America.
In the letter, Major DeMarco says that the Defense Department's head military police officer for the National Capitol Region emailed him to ask if the DC National Guard was in possession of “the Active Denial System” (ADS).
An ADS, informally known as a "heat ray", is a weapon developed by the US military that fires out high-powered waves of energy designed to instantly heat water and fat molecules in the skin, causing a painful burning sensation. It works in a similar fashion to a microwave and is used primarily for crowd control.
Most people targeted with the weapon are capable of enduring about three seconds of direct targeting before they reach their pain threshold. However, the radiation burns cause no long-term damage.
Major DeMarco also says that the DC National Guard was the recipient of a weapons transfer of about “7,000 rounds of ammunition” on the afternoon of the protest.
A Defence Department official told the Washington Post that the request on weapons availability was “routine”, but Major DeMarco’s lawyer David Laufman refuted this, saying "there is nothing 'routine' about inquiring about the availability of a heat ray to use against American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights".