As you’ve heard by now, shit got real at Occupy Oakland on Tuesday night. It’s been unearthed that the person who caught a projectile to the head was 24-year-old Iraq veteran Scott Olsen. In the video above, protesters are heard screaming for a medic after Olsen was struck just above his right eye with a gas canister. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors discovered that his skull was fractured and he had suffered brain swelling. To make matters worse, Olsen is also at risk for permanent brain damage.
The video below emerged later, and clearly shows an officer tossing a device that explodes with a rather loud bang and blinding flash into the middle of the crowd that gathered to help Olsen. According to The Guardian, Olsen served two tours in Iraq, back in 2006 and 2007. Originally from Wisconsin, he moved to Oakland in July and is a member of both Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War. It’s also been reported that Olsen opposed the war before it even began. After attending Occupy San Francisco, he joined the Occupy Oakland movement in response to a request for increased participation.
In an interview with RightThisMinute, Olsen’s uncle George Nygaard insists that Olsen was intentionally attacked for exercising his first amendment rights. He mentioned that Olsen attended the protest on Tuesday night with the intention of keeping the peace between law enforcement and demonstrators. How horrible is it that someone who did two tours of duty for this country is now seriously injured as a result of police force?
Oakland police admit to using tear gas, but deny the use of flash bang grenades. The Guardian reports that activist photographer Jay Finneburgh, who was at the protest and published pictures of Olsen lying in a daze on the ground, said he had attended “many protests” where flash bang grenades were used claimed to see them on Tuesday night. Oakland police could not be reached for further comment.
As we said yesterday, this is far from over.