Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Police Deploy Flash Bombs at Occupy Oakland?

See Reason, "An Iraq War Veteran is in Critical Condition After Occupy Oakland Scuffles, Police Won't Confirm What Weapons They Used."

But watch the video:

Clearing the protest? Good. Police-state tactics? Not so good.

The New York Times has more, "Updates on Occupy Protests Nationwide":

Two veterans groups say that a protester who was badly wounded in Oakland on Tuesday night is a former marine who is now hospitalized with a fractured skull.

According to Iraq Veterans Against the War, the protester, Scott Olsen, is a member of their group who left the Marines in 2010, after serving two tours in Iraq. In a statement, the group's executive director Jose Vasquez, claimed that Mr. Olsen "sustained a skull fracture after being shot in the head with a police projectile while peacefully participating in an Occupy Oakland march," on Tuesday night. Mr. Vasquez added that Mr. Olsen, a systems network administrator in Daly, Calif. "is currently sedated at a local hospital awaiting examination by a neurosurgeon."

A series of bloody photographs that appear to show Mr. Olsen after he was wounded were posted on the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center's site, Those images show that Mr. Olsen was wearing a brown military shirt with his last name on the front. Jay Finneburgh, the photographer who shot the images of Mr. Olsen, wrote on Indybay: "This poor guy was right behind me when he was hit in the head with a police projectile. He went down hard and did not get up. The bright light in the second shot is from a flash-bang grenade that went off a few feet from us. He looks like he might be a veteran. he was eventually taken to highland hospital."
Go back to New York Times to follow the links to IVAW and others.

The freedom to assemble is not unlimited. Time, place, manner restrictions are routine, and the police had already ordered the crowd to disperse. According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
Police said they had to protect themselves from protesters who hurled rocks, bottles and paint, and ignored orders to disperse.
Still, that Olsen dude got beat up pretty bad. Looks like the police have some PR problems now.

More at London's Daily Mail, "Marine veteran fighting for life after being shot in the face with gas canister during Occupy Oakland clashes."