Fort Wayne man loses eye during protest, says police are 'lying' about what happened

The FWPD and a 21-year-old man who was hit in the face by a gas canister and lost his eye disagree on what happened. He speaks for the first time since Saturday's protest to tell his side.

Posted: Jun 1, 2020 11:48 PM
Updated: Jun 8, 2020 10:11 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- A Fort Wayne man who lost his eye during Saturday's protest says Fort Wayne Police are lying about what happened.

Balin Brake, 21, says he was running away from the protest as police started using tear gas, and as a tear gas canister hit his shoe he turned around, only to be hit in the face.

"I turned around to watch what was going on and that was when another canister came flying at my face," says Brake.

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Brake, a college student and part-time employee at WFFT, says he was enjoying the atmosphere of the protest, which he called peaceful, as he was standing up for people of color, while off the clock.

"There wasn't any violence going on," he says. "Everyone was friendly and supportive."

Police have come under scrutiny by many protestors in Fort Wayne.

Many people are saying police have given little warning and have unnecessarily shot tear gas and pepper spray at protestors.

When Brake was hit by the canister he says he was 'discombobulated'.

"I was trying to make it up the street, but that's when Isiah came and picked me up," he says.

Isiah Gray was a part of the protest and scooped Brake up, who he says he didn't know before then, in order to get him out of harms way.

"More gas came, and I picked him up and put him on my back and we ran," says Gray.

Fort Wayne Police disagree with Brake and Gray.

FWPD released a statement Sunday saying Brake was still in the area when the command was made for protestors to disperse.

They say Brake was bending over to pick up a canister to throw it back, as many others were doing, and another canister skipped on the ground and hit him.

Brake and Gray say FWPD is lying.

"The police are just trying to cover up the mistreatment and abuse of power they've always used," says Brake. "It's what everyone down there is protesting."

"He was running," adds Gray. "Even then they shot him in the face."

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