The critical condition of Human rights defender, Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen, allegedly injured by armed forces using “non-lethal weapons” on the Occupy Oakland protesters on Tuesday night, has been upgraded to fair condition at Highland Hospital in Oakland, a nursing supervisor said late Thursday morning.
Scott Olsen, 24, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veteran For Peace, was with some 1000 protesters in downtown Oakland, California Tuesday. He had gone to help create peace between protesters and the police who had dismantled the occupation encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall.
“He’d leave work, head there, sleep there and go to work the next day,” Olsen’s friend Keith Shannon said. “We were really against the fact that the banks and corporations were not held accountable for what they did.”
Shannon tol Keith Olbermann Wednesay night, “I am definitely going to invest myself more than I was before” in the Occupy Wall Street movement now that his best friend is injured.
“We both disagreed with the Iraq War, even while we were there.”
(Watch embedded Youtube on this page of Keith Olbermann’s interview with Shannon.)
Veterans For Peace stated around noon on Thursday, “I just got off the phone with VFP Chapter 69 member, Josh Shepherd, who was at 14th and Broadway in Oakland early this morning and witnessed much of what happened.”
“Josh said that after receiving several text messages with news of the Oakland PD taking down tents and arresting people, he decided to go to downtown Oakland and ‘see if, as a VFP member, I could help still the anger… to be between the police and the protesters…
“It seemed unconscionable to me that the police use the cover of darkness like that to do what they were doing.’
“He got to the front of the crowd (see photo above) and said he ‘felt a lot of tension in the air.'”
Olsen joined the Marines in 2006, served two tours in Iraq and was discharged in 2010, according to Iraq Veterans Against the War.
“It is a sad state of affairs when a Marine can’t assemble peacefully in the streets without getting injured,” said Jose Vasquez, the Iraq Veterans Against War’s executive director.
Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said Wednesday that the incident was under investigation.
“I wish it didn’t happen. Our goal is not to cause injury to anyone,” Jordan said.
Other people were injured and many arrested after Oakland police in riot gear were ordered to evict people encamped in the ongoing “Occupy Oakland” movement according to Veterans For Peace.
After the unprecedented armed force crackdown on the demonstrators in Oakland prompted Keith Olbermann to call for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to either fire the Police Chief or resign, Quan wrote a statement on her Facebook page praising police for closing down the Occupy Oakland protest encampment.
“Now, facing anger from across the world, Quan is backing down on her aggressive language and even says that she supports the goals of the movement,” stated Think Progress.
“She is committing to minimize police presence in the plaza and ‘build a community effort to improve communications and dialogue with the demonstrators.’ (View her full statement.)
Meanwhile, law enforcement has asked Google to remove Youtubes showing police brutality. Google states it has not done so.
“We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove,” Google has posted on its Transparency Website.
“Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests, which we have categorized in this Report as defamation requests.”
Business Insider reported earlier Thursday that police denied allegations that Olsen was hit but the news source posted the video of the incident saying that it showed otherwise.
The Guardian reports that more than 100 people have been arrested in Oakland since police cleared the occupation camp in Frank Ogawa plaza.