Balin Brake Fort Wayne protester loses an eye after being hit in the face by a police tear gas canister during protests in Indiana on Saturday over police brutality.
A 21-year-old Indiana protester has lost an eye after being struck in the face by a tear gas canister while attending a demonstration on Saturday.
Balin Brake‘s eye injury comes as he’d attended protests in Fort Wayne seeking justice following the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis cop last Monday.
Told Brake in an exclusive following surgery with the dailymail: ‘Protesters were in the streets. Cops yelled “disperse” then began launching tear gas canisters into the crowd.
‘One hit and burned my shoe. I began to run and as I turned around to see what was going on behind me another canister hit my face.’
He added: ‘I didn’t feel a lot of pain because the right side of my face went numb, but I instantly knew my eye was done for. I couldn’t see out of it and there was blood just leaking from it.’
‘This pales in comparison to the hardships African Americans have endured for decades.’
Brake, who lives in Fort Wayne and works part time as a video editor for a local news station, said he was protesting peacefully because ‘anger and violence isn’t going to fix any of the problems we’re facing.’
He underwent surgery on Sunday and revealed his eye ‘ruptured’ when a ‘FWPD [Fort Wayne Police Department] Officer unnecessarily and improperly fired a tear gas canister at my head hitting my eye’.
He had his eye removed and will have a prosthetic fitted in the following weeks after having surgery to repair his occipital bone.
He told his Twitter followers: ‘This pales in comparison to the hardships African Americans have endured for decades. Stand up for what u believe in.
‘I regret nothing. I’ll say the same thing I’ve been saying. This is chess not checkers. My eye is small collateral when you think of what the big picture is.’
He added to DailyMail.com: ‘If I could be back on the streets for the protests today I would be. The police need policing.
‘This white skin of mine is a privilege and I fully intend to use my privilege to advocate and continue to help my fellow people. Black Lives Matter.’
Cops fired on protesters after allegedly picking up on canisters and throwing them back at police
Sofia Rosales-Scatena, Public Information Officer for Fort Wayne Police Department, said in a statement: ‘At this time this is what I can tell you regarding the eye injury of a male protester. I do not have an official name at this time but we do believe it to be the same person many of you are inquiring about from Saturdays protest.
‘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 persons head.’
Brake adamantly denies having made any attempt to pick up canisters and throw them back at police according to the journalgazette.
‘Absolutely not. I was not wearing gloves. Those canisters are hot as hell. I would not try to pick them up with my bare hands. In fact, one of them hit my shoe and burned my laces off.’
A medical fundraiser on behalf of Balin on Facebook as of Monday morning had raised over $58K as the communications major and aspiring journalist will be left with a permanent reminder what it means to fight for one’s rights and remain brave in the face of in-justice.