Dec. 15 2012
Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Oakland, saying he was critically injured when he was hit in the head by a beanbag fired by a police officer during an Occupy Oakland protest last year.
Olsen was hospitalized after he was struck by a “high-velocity round made of metal pellets,” otherwise known as a beanbag, fired by an Oakland officer on Oct. 25, 2011, the suit said. Olsen was one of more than 1,000 people who rallied after police cleared an elaborate encampment outside City Hall.
"The impact fractured Mr. Olsen’s skull and caused severe hemorrhaging of his brain," said the suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. "As a result of his injuries, Mr. Olsen lost his ability to speak and perform basic mental and physical functions." Although Olsen has improved as a result of therapy, "he still frequently has difficulty speaking, concentrating and remembering things," said the suit, which seeks unspecified damages. The city has not responded to the suit in court.
The lawsuit did not identify the officer who fired the beanbag. Police Chief Howard Jordan has said he is seeking to fire two officers, demote a third and suspend 15 others for their actions during the Occupy protests.
But the suit said after Olsen was struck and lying on the ground, Oakland Officer Robert Roche lobbed a tear-gas canister on a group trying to help Olsen, an incident that was captured by a TV news camera.