I remember this. This was a real tragedy -- and an outrage:
An Iraq war veteran whose skull was fractured by a police bean bag during the Occupy Oakland protest has settled with the city for $4.5 million, his attorneys announced Friday, as part of a federal civil lawsuit.
After he was struck with a lead-filled bean bag fire by a police officer from 20 feet away on Oct. 25, 2011, Scott Olsen, who was 24 at the time, suffered a skull fracture and permanent brain damage.
Today, Olsen can speak and do basic tasks. But, according to a recent interview with the East Bay Express, his memory, concentration and speech are still impaired, and he still owes $200,000 in medical expenses.
According to his suit, Olsen is unable to work as he once did as a computer systems administrator at Opswat in San Francisco.
"I didn't win, uh, part of my brain back that's dead," Olsen said, faltering a bit at a Friday news conference outside Oakland City Hall. "Um, but you know, I.. I... It's hard, it was a hard recovery process. This isn't everything."
In a statement, city attorney Barbara Parker said: "Mr. Olsen suffered a tragic injury that will affect him for the rest of his life. This settlement will save the city the far greater costs of a trial and potentially much higher judgment. This is a fair settlement given the facts of the case and the significant injuries Mr. Olsen sustained.”
Oakland will pay Olsen $1.8 million, according to the city, with the rest paid by the city's insurance company.
Olsen, in many ways, became the national symbol for what the "99 percent" viewed as police brutality during the Occupy movement. Vigils for his recovery at Occupy camps across the country, including in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, were held -- all in Olsen's name.
His past -- serving two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine -- galvanized the already disenfranchised protesters, and became a negative, lasting PR nightmare for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who came under attack for not doing more to control what many saw as an overzealous police department.↓ Story continues below ↓
Quan was on her way back from Washington, D.C., when this protest occurred, and police had evicted the Occupy camp from Frank Ogawa Plaza, prompting a crush of people to return to downtown later in the day.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Quan said, "We wish the best to Mr. Olsen and hope for success in his continued recovery."
“I want Oakland to know that because of that evening’s events we took determined, constructive steps to change our policing procedures,” Quan said in the statement.
Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales spoke to Olsen about his ordeal, and you can watch their interview with the former marine below: Scott Olsen, U.S. Vet Nearly Killed by Police Beanbag at Occupy Oakland, Settles Lawsuit with City.