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A few weeks ago an intrepid reporter put the pieces together and figured out who most likely tossed the flash bang grenade at Scott Olsen and his rescuers as he lay wounded on the streets of Oakland.

Now another piece of the puzzle has emerged. Mark Martel, Scott Olsen's attorney, has been reported as stating

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Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen was hit in the head with a bean bag round during an Occupy Oakland protest last fall...

...the Oakland Police Department had given him ((Martel)) the information a couple of weeks ago, but had not stated explicitly whether it was an Oakland police officer who fired the round.


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Shotgun capable of firing bean-bag rounds

Occupy Oakland police riot

Previously most people had assumed that Olsen had been hit by a tear gas cannister, since from the videos taken that evening it looked like tear gas was being widely used. But tear gas is not supposed to be aimed at an individual, while a "bean bag" round is. A tear gas grenade could have hit Scott "accidentally." But a bean-bag round? By a highly-trained marksman? Not so much. That's a big issue.

"The difference is significant, because a tear gas canister, you don't shoot at a person," said Martel, who called the development "troubling"...

"It looks like one officer intentionally shot him"

And on that note, it looks like a long-anticipated lawsuit against OPD and the City of Oakland is about to happen:
((Martel)) said he planned to file a lawsuit against the city and the police department...

Martel said he planned to file claim forms with the city of Oakland this week, the precursor to the lawsuit.

The claim will list the damages Olsen experienced... including about $200,000 in medical bills, many of which are covered by insurance; violation of constitutional rights; pain and suffering; and lost income...

What might the lawsuit be factually based on? This is just my own speculation, but here is an excerpt from the Crowd Control Policy for the Oakland Police Department with respect to "bean bag" rounds, negotiated as the settlement of a Federal lawsuit and signed onto by the Police Department and the City of Oakland.  How many direct and potential violations of their own policy can you spot?

Oakland Police Department Crowd Control Policy (pdf)

Department Training Bulletins shall be used to advise members of current police techniques and procedures and shall constitute official policy.

2. Uses of Direct Fired Specialty Impact Less-Lethal Munitions (SIM).

 Direct Fired SIM are less-lethal specialty impact weapons that are designed to be direct fired at a specific target, including but not limited to flexible batons ("bean bags"), and shall not be used for crowd management, crowd control or crowd dispersal during demonstrations or crowd events. Direct Fired SIM may never be used indiscriminately against a crowd or group of persons even if some members of the crowd or group are violent or disruptive.  

a. Direct Fired SIM may be used against a specific individual who is engaging in conduct that poses an immediate threat of loss of life or serious bodily injury to himself or herself, officers, or the general public or who is engaging in substantial destruction of property which creates an imminent risk to the lives or safety of other persons. In such instances, Direct Fired SIM shall be used only when other means of arrest are unsafe and when the individual can be targeted without endangering other crowd members or bystanders (See Special Order No. 8135 enacted April 15, 2004.).

b. The use of Direct Fired SIM must cease when the violent or destructive actions cease. These weapons must not be used for the purpose of apprehension or to otherwise prevent escape unless escape would present a substantial risk of continued imminent threat to loss of life or serious bodily injury.

c. Members shall only deploy Direct Fired SIM during a demonstration or crowd event under the direction of a supervisor.  

d. When circumstances permit, the supervisor on the scene shall make an attempt to accomplish the policing goal without the use of Direct Fired SIM as described above, and, if practical, an audible warning shall be given to the subject before deployment of the weapon.

e. Any person struck by a round shall be transported to a hospital for observation and any necessary treatment. Ambulance service, if required, shall be ordered per General Order I-4. First aid, when necessary, shall be administered per Training Bulletin III-K.

f. No member shall use Direct Fired SIM without formal training.

g. Direct Fired SIM shall not be used against a person who is under restraint.

h. Members shall not discharge a Direct Fired SIM at a person’s head, neck, throat, face, left armpit, spine, kidneys, or groin unless deadly force would be justified.

I immediately come up with a), e) and h), along with possibly c).  And if not c), then the Supervisor who directed the weapon to be used seems like he or she had to also be in violation. Beyond that, it's not clear to me, with respect to b), whether there was any "violent or destructive action" taking place at the time Olsen was wounded other than that being taken by the police, at least within the immediately vicinity of where he was standing.

What we still don't know is who fired the bean-bag round, and, ultimately, what would possess someone to fire at a unarmed person who was simply standing next to a guy waving an American flag, even if all holy hell was breaking out elsewhere.

Scott Olsen

There will never be justice for Scott Olsen. You can't erase a head injury with a pile of cash. And if history is any guide, no one will ever be brought to account for what they did that night of October 25th, let alone prosecuted.

Five years from now, no one who is unemployed, or homeless, or hungry, or whose kids can't get a decent education, will understand that the money that Oakland will have been forced to use to settle Scott's lawsuit could have been used for these services... if only the Oakland Police were sane.

Five years from now, the Oakland Police, safely ensconsed in their suburban homes and still racking up massive overtime, will reminisce about how they beat the shit out of Occupy Oaklanders "back in the day." And got away it, just like every other time.

Five years from now, the current City Council and Mayor will be long gone, to be replaced by those who will be equally clueless as to the extent of the violence and corruption that is the Oakland Police, and equally ineffective in doing anything about it.

Or not. A better world is possible. How do we make it happen?

-----

Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 10:29 PM PT: Tweet from Scott Olsen:

Scott Olsen ‏ @solsen230  

40 grams of lead @ 270 feet/second - less than lethal? #O25 #OO #OPD | http://www.baycitizen.org/... http://pic.twitter.com/...

5:33 PM PT: KTVU TV in the Bay Area just had a report on this, with sound bytes from Scott, his lawyer, and a police spokesperson (who said nothing).  It seems likely that the clip will be made available on their website ktvu.com


Originally posted to jpmassar on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 09:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, California politics, and SFKossacks.

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