Scott Olsen served two terms in Iraq and came home unscathed. Olsen was part of a peaceful protest the other night in Oakland when things turned ugly. Police decided to fire tear gas and stun grenades at the Occupy protesters. Olsen was hit directly in the head with a canister of tear gas and suffered serious head injuries. When other protesters came to his rescue, to carry him out of harm’s way, they were fired upon with flash bombs and stun grenades.
Yesterday, Scott Olsen was upgraded to fair from critical condition. Doctors are still waiting to see if the swelling on his brain will go down to make the decision on if he needs surgery. Olsen’s aunt, Kathy Pacconi, told Reuters in an email that her nephew was showing signs of improvement. Olsen “responded with a very large smile” to a visit from his parents, Highland General hospital spokesman Warren Lyons said. “He’s able to understand what’s going on. He’s able to write and hear but has a little difficulty with his speech,” Lyons said.
The Oakland Police Department is having to answer questions about why they used such aggressive tactics with demonstrators outside City Hall. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, herself a veteran of street protests from Berkeley in the 1960s to a public demonstration against police brutality in Oakland just last year, is facing demands for her recall or resignation. “Mayor Quan, you did more damage to Oakland in one evening than Occupy Oakland did in two weeks,” one hastily scrawled slogan left near the entrance to her offices read.
Quan was in Washington at the time of the attacks on the protesters and seems to be distancing herself from interim police chief, Howard Jordan. During her press conference, she told reporters, “I only asked the chief to do one thing: to do it when it was the safest for both the police and the demonstrators,” she said. Whatever they did was nowhere near the safest for the protesters. Besides the NYPD’s constant acts of brutality on the Occupy protesters, what happened in Oakland was the most aggressive actions taken by any police department nationwide.
We here at News Burner feel someone is going to take the fall here and it’s going to be either the Mayor or the police chief, or both. For more on the story, check out our friends at [SFGate]