Scott Olsen, an Iraq veteran who served two tours of duty, has been critically injured in the confrontation between Occupy Oakland protesters and police on Tuesday night in downtown Oakland. Olsen, a systems administrator living in Daly City who is originally from Wisconsin, is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and was discharged in 2010 after joining the U.S. Marines in 2006. He suffered a skull fracture from the impact of a “blunt object” and is currently in “serious but stable condition” at Highland Hospital in east Oakland. He has been sedated and has been examined by a neurosurgeon, and has only regained consciousness a few times.
This video shows a protester, identified by YouTube user PlanetEarthAwakens1 as Olsen, lying on the ground and others going towards him. An explosive device is thrown from a group of police. The video then shows an injured person, bleeding from the head, being carried away.
This video shows some of the same footage, but is clearer.
Said Jose Sanchez, executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War:
“I think it is a sad state of affairs when a Marine can’t assemble peacefully in the streets without getting injured. We are pretty upset about it.”
After Oakland police dismantled their encampment in Frank Ogawa plaza, Occupy Oakland protesters marched on Tuesday to demonstrate against the closing. 102 protesters were arrested on Tuesday and a rally is planned on Wednesday night in downtown Oakland; some protesters are saying they will try to retake the encampment outside City Hall.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Oakland police said that they had used tear gas and baton rounds but not flash bang grenades. Jay Finneburgh, an activist and photographer who was at the protest, said that he had seen such grenades used. On returning to where Olsen had fallen after being struck, Finneburgh said that he had found a beanbag round, which is a small fabric pouch filled with 40 grams of lead shot and is among the “most commonly used projectiles in US policing, though it was withdrawn for 18 years after a fatal incident in 1971.”
The Oakland police also said that they did not use rubber bullets against protesters but photoscontradict such statements. Oakland’s independent police review body also said today that it would be “looking into” what happened in regard to Olsen’s injuries.
“I’m just absolutely devastated that someone who did two tours of Iraq and came home safely is now lying in a US hospital because of the domestic police force,” said Adele Carpenter, who has known Olsen since July — and she is surely not alone in feeling so.
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Photo taken on October 14, 2011, by dignidadrebelde