Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scott Olsen, marine wounded by Oakland police at OWS protest, is in ‘critical condition’

Scott Olsen, marine wounded by Oakland police at OWS protest, is in ‘critical condition’

In a video published early Thursday morning, ex-Marine Scott Olsen, the 24-year-old who suffered a fractured skull in Oakland on Tuesday night and is currently in “critical condition,” is seen standing peacefully in front of a police barricade next to a uniformed sailor just moments before officers deployed chemical agents to disperse the crowd.

While the video does not show what hit Olsen, it suggests that he was shot in the head by a tear gas canister at near point-blank range.  Olsen did not appear to be provoking officers, who’d repeatedly announced their intent to disperse what they’d declared an “unlawful assembly.” Others speculated that he was hit by a beanbag round fired from a shotgun.

Either way, the aftermath of the blow he sustained was severe. Photos of the scene are grisly and not for the squeamish.

He’s now sedated and suffering from brain swelling. Doctors say Olsen is in “critical condition” and could die of his injury.

The incident has sparked a wave of outrage among 99 Percent protesters, and even among other Marines, and on Wednesday night Current TV news host Keith Olbermann called for Oakland’s mayor to fire the police chief or resign. Vigils in solidarity with Oakland were held in numerous cities last night, with another wave planned in even more cities for later tonight.

Protesters were marching in response to a police action early Tuesday morning to clear out a camp demonstrators had been occupying for weeks, in solidarity with the protest that’s occupied a park near Wall Street for more than a month. Police claimed that some people threw paint and bottles at them, so they spent most of the night trying to disperse them at multiple spots around downtown. More than 100 people were arrested in the melee.

An update on Olsen’s condition is expected later this morning.

Video at the link. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan should fire the city’s acting police chief after officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse “Occupy Oakland” protesters. This is America not Egypt or Libya.