An Iraq war veteran has a fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile. Scott Olsen, 24, is in a “critical condition” in Highland hospital in Oakland, a hospital spokesman confirmed.
Jay Finneburgh, a photographer who was covering the protest, published pictures of Olsen lying on the ground. “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,” Finneburgh wrote.
Olsen, a Marine, served two tours of duty in Iraq. Imagine that!
Here’s an interesting conundrum that now complicates the Occupy Movement: How will the police be ‘used’ during this grassroots movement? There is video of the Oakland incident and not only does it show Olsen being hit by a teargas canister, but it also shows others running to his aid were subsequently hit with a flash grenade while helping to move to safety.
Outrageous? Mystifying? Troublesome? Especially troublesome. Actions that the Oakland Police Department seem militaristic in nature, as if they themselves need to gratify their anger towards ‘the enemy.’ Are unarmed protesters an ‘enemy’ or are they American citizens engaging in First Amendment rights? Have police departments across America become militarized? If so, then our nation is in much more serious trouble than I had thought.
The nation has been through way-too many incidents of police aggression and brutality. We do not need another spate of it that our grandchildren will be watching later in life- like the black and white films we saw of police dogs, batons and firehouses directed against blacks demonstrating for civil rights in the South.
One more question needs to be considered: when these now-peaceful demonstrations escillate due to the police brutality in Oakland, will the police departments in other cities repeat the militaristic actions of Oakland, or will the chief instruct his officers to show the professional side of their servidce rather than their aggressive side?
Hopefully, President Obama will not have to call up the National Guard as did Eisenhower and Johnson to protect American citizens from their fellow citizens. Were that scenario to take place, we can kiss this nation goodbye!