A 21-year-old Indiana protester lost an eye after being hit in the face by a tear gas canister at a demonstration on Saturday.
Balin Brake announced that he suffered the devastating injury at around 5:30 p.m. in Fort Wayne when he protested the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man killed on Memorial Day while in custody by police officers in Minneapolis.
After Brake finished the operation on Sunday, he told DailyMail.com: “The demonstrators were on the streets. Cops shouted "scatter" and then started shooting tear gas canisters into the crowd.
& # 39; One blow and burned my shoe. I started to run and when I turned to see what was going on behind me, another canister slapped my face. & # 39;
Balin Brake lost an eye after being hit in the face by a tear gas container at a demonstration on Saturday
Balin Brake shared this photo after an operation to remove his eye. After an operation to repair his occipital bone, a prosthesis is fitted. He is pictured after the operation (left) and before his injury (right).
He added, "I wasn't in a lot of pain because the right side of my face went numb, but I knew right away that my eye was gone. I couldn't see and blood was coming out."
Brake, who lives in Fort Wayne and works part-time as a video editor for a local news channel, said he protested peacefully because "anger and violence will not solve any of the problems we are facing."
He underwent surgery on Sunday and showed that his eye was "broken" when "an FWPD (Fort Wayne Police Department) officer unnecessarily and improperly fired a tear gas canister at my head that hit my eye."
He had his eye removed and will have a prosthesis fitted to repair his occipital bone in the weeks following the operation.
He told his Twitter followers: "This pales in comparison to the hardships that African Americans have endured for decades. Stand up for what you believe in.
& # 39; I have no regrets. I will say the same thing that I said. This is not chess checkers. My eye is a little security when you think about what the big picture is. & # 39;
Protesters are pictured at a rally protesting the death of George Floyd on Sunday in Fort Wayne, Indiana
He added DailyMail.com: “If I could go back on the streets for the protests today, it would be me. The police need policing.
“This white skin of mine is a privilege and I fully intend to use my privilege to stand up for my fellow human beings and to continue to help them. Black lives count. & # 39;
Sofia Rosales-Scatena, Fort Wayne Police Department Information Officer, said in a statement: “At this point, I can tell you the following about a male protester's eye injury. I don't have an official name at the moment, but we believe it is the same person that many of you inquire about in protest on Saturday.
According to our local officers, the protester was still in the area after orders were given to leave the area. Gas was used in the area and the protester bent down to pick up the canister and throw it back at the officials, as many others tried.
When he leaned over another canister, he was deployed in the area, and that canister bounced and hit the demonstrator in the eye. There was no intentional use of gas on a person's head. & # 39;
Brake's injury occurs in one eye only one day after the journalist and mother of two, Linda Tirado, became blind.
At a protest in Minneapolis on Friday, she was hit by a rubber bullet or a round of marking.
The 37-year-old from Nashville was life-changing after photographing the rally protesting the death of Black George Floyd.
The freelance writer and author told DailyMail.com: “Demonstrators said the police had gasified tears. I put on my glasses and respirator.
"It was pretty messy – people were moving in all directions. Then I felt my face explode. & # 39;
The mother of two young girls, who had also photographed the protest in the city the previous evening, added: "I raised my hands and shouted:" I am the press, I am the press. "
With blood-filled eyes, demonstrators acted as my eyes when I could not see blood and swelling and took them to the hospital.
Linda Tirado, 37, was permanently blinded in one eye after the protest. She shared a photo (right) of her backpack while she was in the hospital. She thinks she has been hit by a round of marking. These are cartridges with reduced performance, which are equipped with soft plastic projectiles and leave a bright spot on the target
"I was in surgery 20 minutes later," she told DailyMail.com after returning from the hospital on Saturday. "I woke up with an eye patch this morning."
The doctors have told her that she has scars on her face and will be permanently blind in one eye – although she hopes that in the future she may be able to see light and shadow through the damaged eye.
It will take about six months for her wounds to heal, but she is grateful that she has not lost her "photographic eye", so it is not an end to her career.
She explained that her eyeball was actually split in two and it is believed that the injury was caused by a rubber bullet or a round of marking.
Marking rounds are cartridges with reduced performance, which are equipped with soft plastic projectiles and leave a bright marking on the target. Tirado's bag was covered with large stains of fluorescent paint.
Despite her forecast, she tries to stay in a good mood.
"I'm out of the hospital!" She tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “Still full of tear gas and blood, kind of pissed off that I can't become a steak or cheeseburger with super artery blockage because everything is shut down, but there are a few beers in the fridge and there are worse things than a lack of cheese fries. & # 39;
The devastation caused by riots and looting in several US cities has prompted the black mayors of Washington, DC and Atlanta, Georgia to campaign for an end to violent demonstrations.
Washington, DC: By Sunday afternoon, thousands of demonstrators had gathered in front of the White House
Minneapolis, Minnesota: During the protests on Saturday evening, businesses were burned down in Minneapolis. The pictures show volunteers searching Sunday along East Lake Street in company debris for possible charred remains of rumors trapped in the building
New York, New York: Other pictures show glass and debris outside a Verizon store (pic)
The Mayor of DC, Muriel Bowser, and the Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, both democratic women, said they supported the American right to protest, but wished it would not be at the expense of the security of their community.
Authorities across the nation have arrested more than 1,400 people in 17 cities since Thursday.
At least three people have died since the protests began after Floyd's terrible death.
"We are sending a very clear message to people that they have the right to exercise their First Amendment rights but not to destroy our city," Bowser said on a morning interview with Lance Bottoms to NBC's Chuck Todd.
"So we saw a level of just destruction and chaos that drove some people crazy," she continued. "Our crews are currently cleaning up our city and we are working with all of our law enforcement partners to ensure peace and quiet in our city."
Bowser's comments came when rioters took to the streets in DC this weekend and clashed with law enforcement agencies across the city – and even outside the White House.
Lance Bottoms informed Meet the Press that 157 people were arrested in Atlanta.
She admitted that "there are no easy answers" about how to respond to Floyd's death or racial ties between blacks and police officers, but agreed with Boswer that "the solution is not to destroy our cities."
Protests have increased across the country throughout the week after a video was released that killed Floyd during the Minneapolis arrest.
Protests have increased across the country throughout the week after a video was released that killed Floyd during the Minneapolis arrest
White officer Derek Chauvin was videotaped by a viewer kneeling on Floyd's neck as he begged for air
The cellphone video footage showed that Floyd was handcuffed when four policemen arrested him.
Derek Chauvin, a 44-year-old white policeman who has now been arrested, kneels on Floyd's neck for eight minutes when the victim repeatedly said he could not breathe.
Chauvin was arrested on Friday after demonstrators requested his arrest – and he was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd's family and protesters are demanding that the three other officers involved in the arrest – J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – also be charged.
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