Returning for the first time to Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland, where the eviction of peaceful Occupy Oakland demonstrators on October 25th eventually resulted in his critical injury at the hands of a member of the Oakland Police Department's multi-agency task force, Scott Olsen gave his first interview this week since his recent release from the hospital. [Video posted at bottom of article.]
The 24-year old, two-tour Iraq vet and former U.S. Marine was struck by a projectile, believed to have been a CS gas canister fired by a law enforcement official, as he stood with other peaceful Occupy Oakland demonstrators just before police opened fire on them.
Contrary to a statement given by the OPD's Interim Chief Howard Jordan on the night of the confrontation with demonstrators in Oakland, so far no evidence has emerged to support Jordan's claim that police "had to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd and people from pelting us with bottles and rocks." In fact, a November 2nd analysis by The BRAD BLOG of video tape and eye-witness statements from that night suggests quite the opposite, that the police planned to fire on demonstrators before there was any sign of violence by protesters.
The action which resulted in Olsen's injury, as we reported, would be in apparent violation of both state law and a federal consent decree signed by the OPD after similar violence against anti-war protesters in 2003. Following our report, the OPD somewhat walked back Jordan's so far evidence-free remarks to the media following the assault.
In the video interview, Olsen displays a remarkable memory of the events of the night --- particularly given the bloodied, apparent state of shock he was seen in as he was carried off by fellow demonstrators shouting "Medic! Medic!" in video tapes of the incident.
As seen in the interview, he also now has trouble with his speech, thanks to the damage sustained to the left frontal lobe of his brain, according to David Id, who posted the interview on Monday at the East Bay Indy Media website.
Olsen tells Id that his condition has been improving. We'd say remarkably so, given the injury he sustained just over one month ago, which sent him to the hospital in critical condition with a fractured skull and a swelling brain in the early morning hours of October 26th.
His indomitable spirit, evidenced throughout the short interview in which he offers a message to police, politicians, and demonstrators alike, is remarkable as well, as he is seen smiling while responding to each of Id's questions, explaining what he recalls of that night in the moments both before and after he was shot...