A U.S. Marine Corps and two-tour Iraq war veteran has been seriously wounded after being shot in the head by police at an ‘Occupy Oakland’ protest in California last night.
According to the Daily Mail, which published a photo of the injured veteran, Olsen is a member of the anti-war group Veterans for Peace. He was among hundreds, perhaps a thousand, demonstrators who marched through downtown Oakland last night protesting the police raid on ‘Occupy Oakland’ encampments that morning, assaults which resulted in the arrests of more than 80 people.
The Huffington Post reports that Olsen served two tours of duty in Iraq with the Marines’ 3rd Battalion.
Moral Low Ground was present throughout the evening as events unfolded in Oakland and published this report. At the time of Olsen’s injury, several hundred protesters had confronted a police line blocking entrance to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza (renamed Oscar Grant Plaza by demonstrators). Seeking to re-occupy the plaza, most of the crowd refused to disperse after an Oakland Police Sergeant declared the gathering unlawful and threatened to forcefully remove, arrest and “seriously injure” anyone who refused to vacate the area, regardless of their purpose.
This reporter witnessed at least one member of Veterans for Peace, 27-year-old Navy veteran Joshua Shepherd, stand his ground immediately in front of the police line, defiantly hoisting a tall VFP flag. When asked why he was doing this, Shepherd told Moral Low Ground “there is no honor in police beating up peaceful protesters.”
They didn’t beat anyone up this time, they just unleashed a hellish barrage of tear gas, rubber bullets, beanbags fired from shotguns, wooden dowels, concussion grenades and other ‘non-lethal’ weapons. Olsen was struck in the head or face.
“Medic! We need a medic!” a protester is heard screaming as another explains that the veteran was shot. Olsen appears bloodied and barely conscious, unable to even state his name as he is rushed away from the scene.
According to Shepherd, Olsen has a fractured skull and is hospitalized in stable but serious condition.
Exactly who shot Olsen is unclear; it is reported that up to 17 different law enforcement agencies took part in last night’s action.
‘Occupy Oakland’ has vowed to carry on despite the brutality and will convene again this and every evening at Frank H. Ogawa (Oscar Grant) Plaza, which is located at Broadway and 14th Street in downtown Oakland.