FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Fort Wayne police say the moment where a protester being hit in the face with a tear gas canister, causing him to lose his right eye, was accidental.
21-year-old Balin Brake shared photos on Twitter of the aftermath, saying police “unnecessarily and improperly” fired at him during weekend protests that turned chaotic and violent. He told our Partners in News at ABC 21 that he underwent emergency surgery, but added in a follow-up tweet that he lost the eye.
fresh out of post op. I might have to have surgery for broken bones in my face within weeks to come but for now all that happened is I did end up losing my eye. This pales in comparison to the hardships aftican americans have endured for decades. Stand up for what u believe in. pic.twitter.com/9QK69wIgJQ
— lens (@notbalin) May 31, 2020
The FWPD says the canister bounced up into his face as Brake was bending down to pick up another canister and throw it back at police. The department’s full statement is as follows:
“According to our officers on the ground, the protester was still in the area after commands to leave the area were given. Gas was deployed in the area and the protester bent over to pick up the canister to throw it back at officers as many others were trying to do. When he bent over another canister was deployed in the area and that canister skipped and hit the protester in the eye. There was no deliberate deployment of gas to any person’s head.”