Oakland to pay $4.5M to man in protest beating

Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen settled with the city of Oakland for $4.5 million after receiving a head injury during an Occupy demonstration.
March 21, 2014 10:19:25 PM PDT
An Iraq War veteran and anti-war activist, injured during an Occupy demonstration two-and-half years ago, has now reached a settlement with the city of Oakland.

Scott Olsen, 26, was struck in the head with a lead-filled bean bag fired by an Oakland police officer. He had been at the Occupy demonstration for only 20 minutes when he got hit in the head. He's now trying to move on and he says the $4.5 million settlement will help him do that.

"There's a portion of my left frontal lobe which is and will always be dead," said Olsen.

For the past 2.5 years, Olsen has had to relearn to talk, cope with constant headaches, and deal with memory loss.

An Oakland police officer shot the Iraq War veteran and anti-war activist in the head with a lead-filled bean bag during an Occupy demonstration.

On Friday with his lawyers, Olsen announced the settlement with the city of Oakland.

"Certainly, no amounts of money, it could be a $100 million, it's not going to get me my brain back. So I'm not happy, but I think this is enough," said Olsen.

Olsen's lawyers provided video of him in the hospital not long after the police encounter. He says he will never fully recover from his injuries. Olsen has permanent brain damage which has kept him from holding down a job.

In a written statement, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan says, "We regret that Mr. Olsen suffered these injuries and hardships, and I want Oakland to know that because of that evening's events we took determined, constructive steps to change our policing procedures."

But Olsen's lawyers say nothing is going to change unless Oakland police stop using so-called "less than lethal" weapons.

"Bean bags, sponge rounds, it's all a euphemism. All of these weapons that are fired from guns can kill someone or can cause permanent injuries and should not be deployed in crowds," said Rachel Lederman, Olsen's attorney.

As for Olsen, he's not sure what the future holds, but he says he can now focus on becoming a productive person.

"Now that this has been resolved, I'll have more of an idea of being able to think about that and find out what I can do," said Olsen.


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