Fort Wayne man loses eye after tear gas canister hits him in face

The 21-year-old was struck in the face during the protest outside the Allen County Courthouse Saturday evening.

Posted: May 31, 2020 8:57 PM
Updated: Jun 2, 2020 10:35 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- A Fort Wayne man has lost his eye after he was struck in the face by a tear gas canister while participating in the George Floyd protest outside the Allen County Courthouse Saturday.

How it happened is in dispute. 

Fort Wayne police say the man, who they did not identify, was still in the area after officers commanded protesters to leave the area.

A statement says he bent over to pick up up the canister to throw it back at police when another canister skipped and hit him in the eye.

"There was no deliberate deployment of gas to any persons head," Sgt. Sofia Rosales-Scatena said in the statement. 

But 21-year-old Balin Brake, who is still in the hospital Sunday after he was struck in the face with a canister, says he never tried to pick up a canister, nor was he bending over. 

RELATED: Fort Wayne police give day 2 recap of protests, 1 officer injured

RELATED: Downtown Fort Wayne George Floyd protest returns to Citizens Square

Brake, who is a part-time employee at WFFT but was not working for the station at the time of the incident, says he ran when cops yelled to disperse and started deploying tear gas.

He says one of the canisters struck his shoe and that when he turned around to see what happened a second canister struck him in the face. 

Brake sent FOX 55 News a photo of his shoe to show the damage from the canister. 

No one was arrested or charged in the incident. 

Brake's family has set up a donation page to help pay for medical expenses that so far has raised more than $25,000. 

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