Oakland police and mayor face fresh protest over Scott Olsen injuries
Protesters have returned to downtown Oakland, California, to demand the resignation of the city’s mayor and an investigation to explain how an Iraq war veteran, Scott Olsen, was hit in the head by a teargas canister at close range, leaving him critically injured.
About 2,000 people – half as many as Tuesday night – massed in front of City, tearing down a steel barricade intended to keep them off the grass in Frank Ogawa Plaza.
When the city closed down a nearby underground station, preventing dispersing protesters going home, they organized a spontaneous march through the center of the city, chanting: “Whose streets? Our streets!”
Acting Oakland police chief Howard Jordan told a news conference his department was investigating the injury to Olsen as a “level one” incident, the highest for an internal police inquiry.
Robijn Vangiesen, a local activist and organizer, was in the plaza when Olsen was knocked down by a teargas canister. “He was out, man. Totally non-responsive. He had blood pouring out of his nose,” Vangiesen said. The initial teargas volley was followed by another projectile from the police straight into the small crowd trying to help Olsen. His friends said it was a flash-bang grenade, pointing to a video distributed on the internet as evidence, but police have denied this.
Many protesters expressed anger. “When the rich steal from the poor it’s called business. When the poor fight back it’s called violence,” a 25-year-old solar energy company executive, Cory Rae Shaw, wrote on a banner.