Vet’s injuries from Occupy Oakland protest not caused by deputies, SF sheriff says

Three San Francisco sheriff’s deputies are being named on websites by activists for allegedly injuring an Iraq War veteran during the violent shutdown of the Occupy Oakland camp last week.

Scroll down to see videos of the incident.

Former Marine Scott Olsen suffered a skull fracture in the shutdown of the camp after it turned violent the night of Oct. 25 in downtown Oakland. More than 15 local public safety agencies were called in to assist the Oakland Police Department, including the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department.

Occupy activists and supporters claim to have identified at least three San Francisco deputies in video shot before and during the raid.

In the videos, which have been made available on YouTube, Olsen is shown standing stationary in military garb. After “flash-bang” grenades are fired from the police line, Olsen is shown lying immobile on the ground. He was thought to have been shot in the head by a projectile canister fired from a gun, although the video does not make that clear.

When other protesters rush to Olsen’s aid, another grenade is lobbed into the panicked gathering, presumably worsening his injuries. When he is carried away from the scene, Olsen appears critically injured but conscious. He was later put under sedation at a hospital, according to his roommate, Keith Shannon.

Protesters identified the three deputies based on preraid video that showed them from a closer and less chaotic standpoint — near enough to make their nametags visible.

The head of the union that represents sheriff’s deputies said activists circulated one deputy’s home address online. The union has requested it be removed.

The Sheriff’s Department said an internal investigation unit is reviewing the incident, but it’s unlikely the identified deputies caused Olsen’s injury. Spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said 35 of the 37 Sheriff’s Department personnel on site for the raid were not carrying projectiles, and the two who were equipped with them did not fire.

Hirst also said the department has a policy against deputies using weapons for which they are not trained, or borrowing weapons from other law enforcement during a raid situation.

Shannon, a friend and fellow soldier in the Iraq War, said Olsen is making strides in his recovery at an Oakland hospital, but remains unable to talk and communicates by writing.

Representatives of the Iraq Veterans Against the War activist group — of which Shannon and Olsen both support — said they also are attempting to find out who fired the round and lobbed the second canister.
The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for an investigation into whether excessive force was used in the raid in general.

ACLU attorney Linda Lye said on Monday the public records request is being expanded to the three participating sheriff’s departments.

“We don’t want a situation where agencies say, ‘Well, I didn’t do it, so it must have been someone else,’” Lye said.

The website www.scottolsen.org has been launched to gather donations for Olsen, a 24-year-old Daly City resident.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

 

 

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