WASHINGTON (WANE) — The Washington Post has found that video evidence appears to undermine the Fort Wayne Police Department’s account of what happened in late May when a Fort Wayne man was partially blinded during protests in downtown Fort Wayne.
The Post reports a total of eight people across the country lost at least some vision when struck by police projectiles as they posed “no obvious threat to police.” The newspaper analyzed each incident in a report titled ‘Partially blinded by police.’
One of the cases involved Balin Brake of Fort Wayne, who was struck in the eye by a gas canister during the second day of demonstrations in downtown Fort Wayne on May 30.
As Fort Wayne Police sent tear gas into a crowd of protesters to disperse them, one of the canisters struck Brake in his eye. He ended up losing the eye.
The following day, Fort Wayne Police issued a “statement on eye injury.” It claimed Brake was bending over to throw a canister back when a second skipped up and hit him in the eye.
FWPD’s report said there was “no deliberate deployment of gas to any person’s head.”
With numerous videos from the scene, including video from WANE 15 (see below), The Post found that the second canister did not skip before it struck Brake, and that he had moved away from officers and was standing near a street corner when he was hit. The video also shows that Brake did not bend over and no canister was near him to throw back.
Brake told The Post that after he ran off, he turned around the make sure nothing was “coming up behind me,” and within 30 seconds he was hit in the eye.
WANE 15 reached out to Fort Wayne Police after The Post’s report, but we received this statement: “At this time, since this is in litigation, we cannot comment on the situation.”
Brake said “no suits been filed yet.”