As the NYPD cleared Washington Square Park of demonstrators on Saturday night, there were reports that some of the officers had a new toy at their disposal: some kind of strobe light flashlight to point at protesters. Is the device seen in this video intended to neutralize cameras during beatdowns? Or is it part the NYPD's effort to get demonstrators to "dance" without shooting at their feet? Unclear! But if the intent is to render cameras useless, it doesn't seem to be working:

We asked the NYPD's press office is this sort of strobe flashlight is standard issue, but got no response. (Must be Dance Party Monday over there.) Some YouTube commenters speculate that it's not a strobe at all, but merely a cop with excellent finger dexterity flicking the light on and off. But the Strion LED flashlight also comes with a strobe function, so perhaps it's something like that? What this really reminds us of is billionaire Roman Abramovich's yacht, which is equipped with an anti-paparazzi laser system that can detect the CCDs of digital cameras and blind them with laser bursts, rendering any photos useless. If the NYPD ever perfects that, the nightsticks are really going to get a workout.

[Russia Today via NewYorkist]