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After Scott Olsen (@Olsonvet) was shot in the head with a beanbag round by an Oakland Police officer on October 25th, 2011, a bunch of Occupy Oakland protesters ran out to help him. Many of you know what happened next - one of the officers in the same squad let fly a flash-bang grenade which landed close to Scott and his rescuers, temporarily scattering them. But thanks to those brave souls (who as far as I know to this day have remained nameless) Scott was rescued and hurried out of the battleground that downtown Oakland had become and taken to a hospital.
When Scott's story became known around the world, multiple generous Kossacks suggested creating a quilt for Scott. It was swiftly made by Sara, with many Daily Kos participants contributing quilt square statements. It was ultimately delivered with a dinner visit to Scott by Neeta Lind and myself. A more detailed account of what happened on the 25th and our subsequent dinner with Scott is recounted here in a past NEW DAY diary.
Now, Scott needs help again. He needs money not to pay his lawyer - who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit back in December against Oakland and the Oakland Police Department on contingency - but to pay for expert medical witnesses who can testify at trial to the damage to Scott's brain and the effects of the damage on him for the rest of his life.
He's attempting to raise $20,000 via Indiegogo, an ambitious undertaking. Of course no one expects most of it would come from Kossacks, but whatever we can chip in he would very much appreciate (DONATE HERE. He's offering various rewards for contributions, from a twitter shoutout for $10 to sharing a home-cooked meal and an evening of conversation with him for $1000. He's open to other suggestions to.
Scott Olsen @OlsenVet
I'm open to more ideas for perks for my campaign: Let me know if you have any.
I was shot in the head with a "less-lethal" round by Officer Robert Roche of the Oakland Police Department. He proceeded to throw a grenade at me and the folks who came to my rescue.
I am a Marine veteran who deployed to Iraq twice. After being used to liberate Iraqi oil fields instead of Iraqi people, I found it important to share the truth about our military which led me into participating in the Occupy demonstrations.
On October 25, 2011 after Occupy Oakland was violently removed from Oscar Grant Plaza, I joined the demonstration, standing up for my community's right to assemble. The Oakland Police started to use tear gas and other weapons against us. I was shot in the head by a drag-stabilized bean bag round which put me in the hospital for two and a half weeks, requiring neuro-surgery.
What We Need & What You Get
The way our justice system works, I need to hire doctors who can testify as to the damage that was done to me by the Oakland Police Department. These doctors charge a lot of money, but they are key witnesses in order to have a successful lawsuit.
Any money left over after will be put towards a campaign to pressure the DA to press criminal charges against an officer who commited an obviously criminal act. Expenses for this can include: message development, banners, awareness events, and a website.
Aside from my gratefulness, I can offer shout-outs, hand made cards or art, a dinner date or home-cooked meal (I promise I'm a good cook).
Oakland Police Department has a long, violent history, full of cases of brutality for which officers are rarely punished. Unfortunately, one of the only ways to force the city to change its policy and start holding officers accountable is to make them pay.
Imagine if you shot someone in the head. And your only punishment was that you lost your job. Sound silly? If you work for the Oakland Police Department, that is probably the most that will happen. I want to make it known that violent acts against citizens will not go unpunished, especially for those who wear a blue costume to work.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you don't have any money to give, you can help me if you:
- Tell your friends about this campaign, on the street or on the internets.
- Send all the bitcoins to 16Rn2BSpqkuczMedh9bMasP6V2iHT2V1xN if you leave a twitter handle in the comments I will contact you to arrange for an equitvalent reward.
- Watch the cops!
The view earlier on October 25th from where Scott was to stand that evening.
You can read multiple essays that I've written about Scott after 10/25/11:
- Scott Olsen & the Iraq Vets Against the War Stage Sit-in For Bradley Manning At Obama Office in Oakland
- Now We Know (Officially) Scott Olsen Was Shot by OPD, in "An Overwhelming Military-Style Response."
- Now We Know Who Beat Kayvan Sabeghi Almost to Death.
- Now We Know What Scott Olsen Was Shot With.
- Do We Finally Know Who Tossed the Flash-Bang Grenade At Scott Olsen and His Rescuers?
- Scott Olsen: "I Don't Think Mayor Quan Has The Guts To Face Me."
- Heroic Occupiers Close BoA, Hold Off Police for 10 Hours.
- Mayor Quan to Scott Olsen: Justice Can Wait.
- It Was... Glorious. With Shutdown Updates.
- Occupy It All: Military Vets Will March with Scott Olsen to Shut Down the Ports.
- Scott Olsen will Stand Tall in Support of the West Coast Port Shutdown on 12/12.
- Scott Olsen Returns.
- Occupy Oakland. Kent State. A Few Millimeters Difference. 40 Years Apart.
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1:47 PM PT: I got a reply from Scott as to the status of his lawyer and payment of expert witness fees. (There was considerable controversy in the comments as to what exactly was happening in this regard).
Here's his note:
My lawyer is working on a pro-bono basis, so I haven't given him any
money. I doubt his office could afford to front tens of thousands of
dollars. Also there was nothing in our contract stating that, I've fully
expected to need to hire expert witnesses the whole time.