Iraq War Veteran Nearly Killed in Oakland Protest by Police
An Iraq war veteran has a fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile.An account of the Oakland protests and police actions.
Scott Olsen is in a "critical condition" in Highland hospital in Oakland, a hospital spokesman confirmed.
Olsen, 24, suffered the head injury during protests in Oakland on Tuesday evening. More than 15 people were arrested after a crowd gathered to demonstrate against the police operation to clear two Occupy Oakland camps in the early hours of Tuesday morning. (snip)
Carpenter said she was told by a doctor at the hospital that Olsen had a skull fracture and was in a "serious but stable" condition. She said he had been sedated and was unconscious.
"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," Carpenter said.
Olsen had only moved to Oakland in July, Carpenter said. He is a member of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War, and met Carpenter through her work with the civilian soldier alliance. (snip)
Shannon, who is also 24, said he had seen the video footage showing Olsen lying on the floor as a police officer throws an explosive device near him.
"It's terrible to go over to Iraq twice and come back injured, and then get injured by the police that are supposed to be protecting us," he said.
He said Olsen had served two tours of Iraq, in 2006 and 2007. Olsen was in 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines with Shannon before leaving the military in 2010.
He moved to the San Francisco area in July and works for Opswat, a software company, living with Shannon in Daly City, just south of San Francisco.
Shannon said Olsen was hit in the head by a tear gas canister or smoke canister shot by a police officer. He said Olsen had a curved scar on his forehead consistent with a canister. (snip)
Video footage published to YouTube shows Olsen lying prone in front of a line of police. Around 10 people gather around him in an apparent attempt to provide aid, before a police officer throws an explosive device into their midst, scattering the group.
Footage captured after the explosion, which appears to be from a flash bang grenade, shows Olsen being carried away by a group of people.
Oakland police confirmed at a press conference that they used tear gas and baton rounds, but said they did not use flash bang grenades. Police could not be immediately reached for comment.
At the time of this writing I am filled with rage. Occupy Oakland, on its second week, was raided by an overwhelming force of approximately 800 police in riot gear. I was there, ready to defend when police from all entrances to Oscar Grant Plaza rushed in with sticks and began beating people. Their tactics were simple but effective: rush in with overwhelming numbers and push out those that intended to stay for a fight, slowly crush resilience of those who took up the tactic of civil disobedience by linking arms and protecting the camp. They beat people with sticks, shot people with rubber bullets, obliterated ear-drums with flash-bang grenades, and choked them with tear gas.
UPDATE: Long write-up on Olsen here.