By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A protester who says he lost his eye during a Black Lives Matter demonstration here in Pittsburgh appeared in court Thursday.
Alex Horell, 28, walked into court today facing a long list of charges including rioting, failure to disperse and obstructing law enforcement.
The charges date back to May 30 when civil unrest filled the streets of downtown Pittsburgh.
Horell was protesting that day, but his attorney says his client was peaceful.
“This incident was nowhere near the untoward behavior with the burning of the police car,” attorney Fred Rabner said.
Horell says he was protesting on Smithfield Street when police lobbed tear gas and protesters threw them back, then an officer shot bean bag projectiles into the crowd.
“The doctors did say it was the equivalent of a baseball bat to the face. Facial damage to the eye just exploding,” Horell said of his injury last month.
KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan broke the story last month. Horell says he lost permanent sight in his right eye and had to be fitted with a prosthesis.
“You see officers point out an intended target, which is never supposed to be the manner in which you shoot to disperse,” Rabner said.
- RELATED STORY: Pittsburgh Man Says He Lost Eye After Police Shot Bean Bag At Him During Downtown Protest
Rabner also claims charges were filed against Horell after they filed a lawsuit against the city.
“We notified them in writing of our lawsuit, and then he’s charged,” Rabner said. “It could be a coincidence, I don’t know.”
The criminal complaint accuses Horell of dumping garbage on the street, catching tear gas canisters and then throwing them back at police.
For now, the case has been postponed while Horell’s defense team reviews surveillance video.
“We demanded to see the video that shows any wrong-doing on the behalf of Alex,” said Rabner. “What’s so ironic is, here’s an individual that goes to peacefully protest police brutality and George Floyd being shot, and he gets to be the victim of police brutality.”
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