LOS ANGELES : An Iraq war veteran critically injured in 2011 Occupy protests in California has won $4.5 million in a legal settlement with local authorities, his lawyers said Friday.
Scott Olsen, who served two tours in Iraq, suffered brain damage when riot police used tear gas to disperse protestors in Oakland on October 25. Olsen, 26, welcomed the settlement but said it could not compensate for his injuries including a fractured skull. “It’s certainly not enough to make up for a part of my brain that is dead and will forever be dead,” Olsen told the Democracy Now! video news outlet. He gave an outdoor press conference not far from where he was injured, saying he had not expected to be disabled due to police action at home, having survived war-torn Iraq. “I guess I thought that I wasn’t in Iraq anymore, you know, I’d be more or less safe,” he said, cited by the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I wasn’t going to get shot. I wasn’t going to be attacked. Oakland police proved me wrong in that, and it makes me feel less safe in general, especially around people who are supposed to be protecting you.
“I don’t feel safe at all around police.” The “Occupy Wall Street” protests started in New York and swept across the US and other countries in 2011 and 2012. Its message of fighting for economic equality has resonated particularly in Oakland, a city across the bay from San Francisco that is plagued by poverty and a soaring murder rate. Images of a bloodied Olsen being carried away after being hit fueled further protests in Oakland and elsewhere.