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This Is Not America; This Is A War Zone: Oakland California Police Shoot and Injure 24-Year Old War Veteran

October 27, 2011
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 19:  Vietnam War veter...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

It was a purposeful act of violence to shoot this young man, a proud war veteran, a 24-year old protester, shot in the head by California police.  Watch the cops then shoot at protesters who rushed to help the injured protester who is bleeding copiously from the head.  This is not America, this a war zone.

The UK compared the U.S. to Egyptian secret police:

Last night in Oakland, just as in Boston and other cities before it, police swept in late at night under cover of darkness upon unarmed peaceful protestors and did their best imitation of Egypt’s secret police thugs. They fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets then would not allow protestors to tend to the wounded. Shall we remind the police constabularies in all Occupy cities how Cairo ended up?…

When Egyptian police thugs entered Tahrir Square on horseback and camel, that began days and nights of medieval violence and death that did not really end until Wael Ghonim was released, cried on national television and enraged a nation because he’d been held hooded and in a dark room for 12-days for writing a blog. That rage was what Egypt rode through to the resignation of Mubarak.

It would have ended much differently if NYPD’s Joey Baloney resisted the urge to mace the young ladies, the police let protestors occupy Brooklyn Bridge for a few hours instead of arresting 700 of them, let Occupy protestors use megaphones, computers and keep their tents… The cameras would have stayed home and there is no ‘Day 2’ story. Police patience would eventually win the day in New York and, perhaps, in Cairo. But they are like Pavlovian dogs with power and authority. They cannot control themselves and this, more than anything, is why these movements succeed.”

Olsen, originally from Onalaska, Wisconsin, had been camping overnight with the Occupy San Francisco protest before joining the Oakland movement, said his friend, Adele Carpenter, who spoke to Reuters by phone from the hospital waiting room.

“The irony is not lost on anyone here that this is someone who survived two tours in Iraq and is now seriously injured by the Oakland police force,” said Carpenter, 29.

She said Olsen had been active in several anti-war veterans groups and had ventured across the bay to Oakland in a gesture of solidarity after learning of protesters’ difficulties in that city.

Keith Shannon, 24, who said he served with Olsen in Iraq, told Reuters his friend suffered a 2-inch skull fracture and brain swelling and had been sedated and placed on a respirator in the hospital’s emergency room trauma center while neurosurgeons decided whether to operate.

Shannon and Carpenter both said Olsen had been conscious when he first arrived at the hospital at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

A hospital spokesman said on Wednesday night that Olsen remained listed in critical condition and would soon be moved to an intensive care unit.

“Scott is quiet until you get to know him. He’s always smiling a lot, and is sharp-witted,” Shannon said, describing his friend and roommate as someone who had “always been interested in politics.”

“Even though he has a good job, and Wall Street technically hasn’t affected him, he’s trying to help other people,” Shannon said. He added that he and Olsen both now work as systems administrators at a software firm and are roommates in Daly City, south of San Francisco.

Olsen served two tours in Iraq from 2006 to 2010 with the 3rd battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Shannon said, adding that he and Olsen deployed together and were assigned to a tactical communications unit.

During his first tour, Olsen was sent to the Iraqi town of Al-Qa’im, a community along the Euphrates river and his second deployment was in Hadithaa.

Here is the HuffPost version:

UPDATE: 8:55 p.m. — Sandra Olsen, Scott’s mother, told HuffPost that her son remains sedated and still suffers brain swelling. She also reported that the left side of his skull was fractured. Olsen plans to fly to Oakland tomorrow to be at her son’s side.

To Help Scott Olsen, look here:

Tell Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to investigate this incident and allow peaceful protests to continue. 

  • Click here to send her an email message
  • Call the Mayo’s office: (510) 238-3141
  • Post a message on her Facebook page

You can make a donation to a special medical fund we’ve established for Scott here.

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