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Iraq Vet Wounded by Oakland Police Projectile Upgraded to “Fair” Condition

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By HVnews on October 27, 2011

The Oakland Police Department has blood on its hands after two intense nights of skirmishes with #OccupyOakland protesters. But at least, we know now, it’s not responsible for a death.

In a horrific act of unprovoked violence, Veterans for Peace member Scott Olsen was wounded by a police projectile during the hostile action on Tuesday night in Oakland. There’s something remarkably wrong with the actions of the police and the decisions made by Oakland leadership when a war veteran makes it home safely to U.S. soil only to be critically wounded by local police during a peaceful protest.

Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull and brain swelling after he was hit in the head by a police projectile, possibly a rubber bullet, during the second night of clashes. Fellow protesters took Olsen to the hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.

On Thursday, doctors upgraded the former Marine’s condition to “fair.”

“It’s unfortunate it happened,” Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said on Wednesday. “I wish that it didn’t happen. Our goal, obviously, isn’t to cause injury to anyone.”

Olsen served two tours of Iraq, the first in 2006, the second in 2007. Olsen was in 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines before he left the military in 2010. He was reportedly against the invasion of Iraq even before he left for his first tour of duty in the country.

These two unbelievable videos capture the moment Olsen was hit, and in the aftermath, you can see an explosive device thrown into the group by a member of the Oakland Police Department.

Current TV’s Keith Olbermann interviewed Keith Shannon, Olsen’s roommate and fellow Iraq war veteran, on Wednesday night. Much of what Shannon says about Olsen’s condition is, thankfully, outdated news at this point, but the interview is worth a watch.

Olsen and Shannon are members of both Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace.

The police-led violence seems to have calmed in the area — all now seemingly quiet on the western coast. Oakland police on Wednesday night pulled down barricades near City Hall and reduced their presence in the area. Mayor Jean Quan issued a statement promising more of the same going forward:

We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement: we have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99% too. We are a progressive city and tolerant of many opinions. We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard.

I want to thank everyone for the peaceful demonstration at Frank Ogawa Park tonight, and thank the city employees who worked hard to clean up the plaza so that all activities can continue including Occupy Wall Street. We have decided to have a minimal police presence at the plaza for the short term and build a community effort to improve communications and dialogue with the demonstrators.

Finally, some common sense in dealing with a peaceful protest full of unarmed citizens.

(above photo via Kimihiro Hoshino)


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