Iraq War veteran and Occupy Oakland protester Scott Olsen will receive a $4.5 million settlement from the city of Oakland after being hit and critically injured by a beanbag round to the head during protests in October of 2011.
The 26-year-old Olsen was injured when Oakland police cleared out the Occupy Oakland camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza. The situation turned violent with protesters throwing rocks and bottles at police. Protesters claimed the police were using flashbang grenades on the crowd, but OPD countered saying the explosions heard were actually M-80 fireworks thrown by the protesters. Police officers fired four bean bag rounds, one of which struck Olsen in the head.
According to Olsen's lawsuit he was hit with "a high-velocity round made of metal pellets," which "fractured Mr. Olsen's skull and caused severe hemorrhaging of his brain." Olsen served two tours of duty with the Marines in Iraq and due to permanent brain damage from his injuries he has not been able to return to his job as a computer systems administration.
The suit also blamed OPD officer Robert Roche for throwing a teargas canister into the group of people tying to help Olsen. OPD attempted to fire Roche after the Occupy incident, but he is currently fighting to keep his job. According to the Chronicle, Roche has been involved in at least three fatal shootings.
One of Olsen's attorneys Jim Chanin called the situation, "a very sad day, not only for Scott, who's going to have to start his life all over, but for the city of Oakland, which has been hit with yet another unnecessary lawsuit with a very large settlement that could have been used for the public good while Scott went on with his life, without his injury."
According to Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker, the city will pay out $1.4 million and the city's insurance carrier will pay out the other $3.1 million. Also today, the city of Oakland announced they had ageed to pay out $3.25 Million to settle a cyclist's lawsuit over a pothole.