A man protesting the brutal death of George Floyd has lost an eye after being struck by a police tear gas cannister.
George Floyd, 46, died after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck for eight minutes despite saying ‘I can’t breathe’.
His death has led to outrage and protests around the world.
Balin Brake, 21, was among demonstrators in the streets in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Saturday when he was hit in the face and said he immediately knew his eye was “done for”.
Mr Brake said he couldn’t see from his eye that had been hit as blood leaked out of it.
He said he’d been peacefully protesting and “regrets nothing.”
Mr Brake had surgery yesterday to have his eye removed and is due to have a prosthetic one fitted in the next few weeks following further surgery, reports said.
The protester said his injuries pale in comparison to what African Americans have endured for decades and believes you should stand up for what you believe in.
Police say there was no deliberate deployment of gas to anyone’s head.
But a spokeswoman confirmed a canister hit a protester in the eye while he was “bent over to pick up a canister to throw it back” – a claim Mr Brake has denied on Twitter.
Mr Brake told the Daily Mail : “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.
“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.”
Sofia Rosales-Scatena, Public Information Officer for Fort Wayne Police Department, said in a statement which has since been shared on social media: “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.”
FWPD spreading misinformation. I never picked or tried to pick up a canister and I was not bending over when I got I was hit.
Former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, 44, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter over the death of George Floyd.
He is in isolation on suicide watch in Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Mr Floyd’s family also called for the other three officers involved to be arrested as they failed to intervene when Chauvin was pressing on Mr Floyd’s neck.
All four officers – Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng – were fired from the force.
The three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have yet to be charged.