The photo above, taken by Jay Finneburgh, shows Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen being carried away after he was struck in the head by a tear gas canister thrown by Oakland police during last night’s raid on Occupy Oakland.
Video shot at the scene shows police throwing a flash grenade into the crowd as other protesters rush to help him:
Olsen did two tours of duty in Iraq and is a current member of Veterans for Peace. He’s now listed in critical but stable condition with swelling of the brain and a skull fracture. He is also on a respirator due to the doctors sedating him in order to evaluate the possible injury to his brain.
From The Guardian:
Keith Shannon, who served with Olsen in Iraq, arrived at the hospital after protesters contacted him through Facebook. He confirmed Olsen had a fractured skull, and said he had been told by a doctor Olsen also had brain swelling. A neurosurgeon was due to assess Olsen to determine if he needed surgery, Shannon said.
“It’s really hard,” Shannon said. “I really wish I had gone out with him instead of staying home last night.”
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.
This is utter brutality. Scott Olsen enlisted in the military, fought for the U.S. in combat, and is thanked for it with a severe head injury while defending his fellow citizens from police action at home. Veterans for Peace have stood with numerous camps, including Boston, where elderly members were beaten by police.
In Oakland, despite police using multiple rounds of tear gas, flash grenades, rubber bullets and beanbag projectiles on protesters, they remained peaceful. Police denied the use of tear gas initially, but confirmed it at a press conference today. It was also claimed this started because a protester threw a rock at police, while Oakland Mayor Jean Quan stated the raid was because of “unsanitary conditions” and “ongoing vandalism” happening because of Occupy Oakland.
As for police denying the use of flash grenades and rubber bullets, the video above shows use of the flash grenade, and here’s a rubber bullet picked up by a demonstrator:
How long will this police aggression against unarmed, peaceful protest be allowed to continue? Scott Olsen is merely one of its victims. We, as citizens, must demand an end to the vicious crackdown at occupy protests across the nation. Remember, be peaceful, but stand resolute.
The tides are moving in favor of occupy movements. For example, Occupy Cleveland just won the right in federal court to occupy a city park around the clock. The judge wrote the demonstrators of Occupy Cleveland had their First Amendment rights violated and ordered the city to grant the protesters a permit.
Solidarity forever, my friends. Do not let the police scare you away.
This video shows a senior NYPD officer swinging his baton, beating protesters at tonight’s Occupy Wall Street march in New York City. Onlookers chant, “The whole world is watching!” The protesters were also reportedly pepper-sprayed. You can hear people screaming at others to cover their eyes, so I don’t see this as outside the realm of possibility.
Reporters at The Guardian UK wrote:
Questions are once again being asked about police tactics – video footage shows officers beating some protesters with batons. Despite the march having a permit, and the roads being closed, police funnelled protesters onto the sidewarks and into tightly-penned areas. This appears to have led to the frustration: police say they made about 12 arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct when a group of protesters tried to push through a barrier.
Many protesters are asking why the actions of the police seem to lead to confrontational situations, which the organisers of the Occupy Wall Street movement are so desperate to avoid.
The footage is horrifying. I know people will argue the officer was justified because he may have thought the situation was out of control. However, this was a permitted march. The roads were closed. The NYPD kettled protesters into tight spaces for no reason.
This resembles the purposeful leading and kettling of protesters onto the Brooklyn Bridge by the police - the same bridge police protested on in 1992. That protest was described as a “beer-swilling melee” by The New York Times. And lest we forget Tony Bologna’s brutality towards kettled protesters, here’s video of him pepper-spraying penned-up demonstrators.
The NYPD cannot be allowed to get away with this any longer. Several of those arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge Oct. 1 filed civil rights complaints in federal court. In the complaint, protesters seek to have their arrests nullified and state:
“After escorting and leading a group of demonstrators and others well out onto the Brooklyn Bridge roadway, the NYPD suddenly and without warning curtailed further forward movement, blocked the ability of persons to leave the bridge from the rear, and arrested hundreds of protesters in the absence of probable cause.”
They also seek to have the city barred from using such tactics in the future.
I stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and I urge them to stand their ground. I hope these abuses of the U.S. Constitution do not dissuade people from further joining the movement. If you’re like me and can’t get to New York, find an event here.
Everyone should watch this.
There’s a media blackout on these events in America. The media doesn’t want us to see what’s happening in our own country.
Occupy Wall Street is happening right now in our own backyard.
We need to educate ourselves.
The fact that the bankers were standing around, drinking champagne as this was happening is just a tribute to how fucked up things really are.
Martin Luther King Jr. (via alexandrahamilton)
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