AUSTIN, Texas — Bomani Barton doesn't regret going out to the protests that Saturday afternoon.
"I can’t stand around doing nothing," 23-year-old Barton said of his decision to join the protests. "If I don’t go out to show support, nothing is going to change."
It was around 12:30 pm. on May 30 when Barton said he joined protesters near the Austin Police Department headquarters. Eventually, he said he moved onto Interstate 35 with other protesters.
That's when Barton said an APD officer shot him three times with bean bag rounds.
He said the rounds "hit you like a metal bat."
"I was frightened, I was scared," Barton said as he recalled the moments on I-35.
He said he was hit in the face, elbow and hip.
"I'm going to have to tell my family that, 'You're going to have to meet me at the hospital' ... I'm digesting that, and I'm digesting that I'm going to have to go through so much more now, with not being able to use my mouth, because I'm an artist," Barton, who is a musician and rapper, said.
Barton said the people that helped get him off the street told him he needed to go to the ER.
"That was the actual first time I cried out loud from the [physical] pain and the emotional pain," he said.
At the hospital, he learned he had fractured his jaw, which required surgery.
But he said, even with the injuries he sustained, he doesn't regret going to the protest.
"Because one, I still made my voice heard, and two, this injury, even though my mouth is wired shut, it’s not going to shut me up. I’m still going to speak, and I’m still going to tell my story," Barton said. "And three, if it wasn’t me, it was going to be someone else."
APD has since said it will no longer be using bean bag rounds in crowd situations.
"They should’ve never been using them," Barton said.
KVUE reached out to APD for a response. This article will be updated if we receive one.
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