Video of police beating war vet at protest surfaces

November 19, 2011 12:24:30 AM PST
A new video has surfaced from the Occupy Oakland demonstration two weeks ago that appears to show a local war veteran being hit repeatedly by police officers.

In the video, Kayvan Sabeghi could be seen ignoring police orders while an officer breaks ranks and clubs him repeatedly.

The video is one that the police, lawyers and anyone with an active or passive interest in Kayvan Sabeghi will scrutinize: Captured on tape are the moments just before Sabeghi says Oakland police ruptured his spleen during the Occupy Oakland protests.

When ABC7 tried to contact Sabeghi for comment on Friday, Sabeghi politely turned us away, though he did say he has seen the video which shows him refusing orders to move by the Oakland police.

The standoff led to one officer breaking ranks and going after him with a baton, striking him repeatedly.

The photographer who filmed the incident, Neil Rivas, gave his account of the incident by phone.

"I figured something was going to happen," Rivas told ABC7. "I felt compelled to be there next to him and stay there...I thought it was important and because -- it was just a human instinct."

After his arrest, Sabeghi spent roughly 14 hours in Alameda County Jail and later complained that the staff ignored his request for medical help. The sheriff's office countered with video from surveillance cameras that show the Iraq war veteran meeting with doctors only to become ill hours later. At that point, the staff called an ambulance and took Sabeghi to Highland Hospital.

But now, that's all secondary.

ABC7 sent the video to the Oakland Police Department. Oakland police did not return our calls, but has said that the case is under investigation.

Members of the Oakland City Council also would not return our calls.

A high-ranking law enforcement official from another agency, who asked to remain unidentified, did speak with ABC7. The official said the video appears to show Sabeghi being confrontational, but also said the officer in the video should not have broken rank to go after him -- a classic case, according to the official, of an escalating situation.

The photographer who filmed the video says he has not given a copy to the police and has no intention of doing so.


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