A Henrico County woman pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to pointing a laser at a police airplane flying over the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond in June.
Amanda Robinson, 33, pleaded guilty to the charge before U.S. District Judge David Novak. She faces up to five years in prison when sentenced on March 23.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Robinson traveled to Lee Circle on June 4 where she aimed her laser pointer at a 2006 Cessna aircraft flying above her location. The craft was operated by police officers of the Metropolitan Aviation Unit.
The unit was conducting aerial surveillance of protesters and marchers. Authorities said the laser beam struck the aircraft at least twice, disrupting the pilot’s vision.
Using an onboard camera, the police officers in the aircraft identified Robinson as the person aiming the laser pointer and directed police units to her location. Police detained Robinson and recovered a green laser pointer in her possession.
The Metropolitan Aviation Unit is a multijurisdictional law enforcement aviation unit made up of the Henrico County Division of Police, the Richmond Police Department and the Chesterfield County Police Department that conducts aerial operations in the central Virginia area.