FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A protester was hit in the eye with a gas canister fired by Fort Wayne Police as officers worked to disperse the crowd from Clinton Street Saturday.
WANE 15 cameras were rolling live Saturday when officers began shooting tear gas at the crowd that had spilled off the Allen County Courthouse lawn and onto the roadway.
One of the canisters struck a protester in the face.
In a tweet, the protester said the officer “unnecessarily and improperly” fired the gas canister.
To anybody curious. My eye ruptured when a FWPD Officer unnecessarily and improperly fired a tear gas canister at my head hitting my eye. I’ll be fine but I’m probably losing my eye after surgery tomorrow. https://t.co/Nd1hfAJPX0— lens (@notbalin) May 31, 2020
On Sunday, police released a statement on the incident. The department said officers said the protester was in the area after being ordered to leave, and gas was deployed. They said the protester bent down to pick up the canister to throw it back at officers, and in the process, he was struck by another canister that skipped off the ground.
“There was no deliberate deployment of gas to any persons head,” the department wrote.
In a follow up tweet, the protester, sharing the police department’s statement, said he “never picked or tried to pick up a canister and I was not bending over when I got I was hit.” He accused the department of “spreading misinformation.”
Saturday’s protest left one officer with non-life-threatening injuries and an untold number of protesters hurt, including one seriously. Seventy people were arrested.