Interview: Scott Olsen Speaks on his Lawsuit Against the Oakland Police Department

Published On December 18, 2012 | By PFB Guest Blogger | antiwar, Bradley Manning, Courtney Harrop, Military, Occupy, OPD, police state

Scott OlsenOn October 25th 2011, Iraq War Veteran Scott Olsen was shot in the head with a beanbag round, by the Oakland Police Department, while standing peacefully between demonstrators and police at a protest following the eviction of the Occupy Oakland camp. After a long recovery, and one legal claim against the city rejected, Scott has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Oakland and OPD. The lawsuit identifies Robert Roche as the officer who threw a tear gas grenade at protesters who were trying to come to Scott’s aid that night, as well as 50 “Does”, since the identity of the officer who fired the near lethal shot still remains unnamed.

Political Fail Blog was honored to be invited to Scott’s home in the days after filing the lawsuit, to ask him some questions and get some of his thoughts about the lawsuit, among other things, like the Code of Silence we so often see ingrained in law enforcement and military personnel.  We were welcomed by the Kitteh Heizenberg, who made his presence well known by climbing up on Matt’s shoulders and head, as we fumbled our way through trying to figure out how to interview someone who over the last year has become a friend, and like, how do you do a serious interview with your friend? (With lots of laughing and starting over, that’s how!)

The complaint states “ Defendants’ actions that caused Scott Olsen’s injuries were intentional. Despicable, oppressive, punitive and malicious, and done with a willful and conscious disregard of Mr. Olsen’d rights and safety, justifying an award of punitive damages.”

The lawsuit contains 10 causes of action which include: Excessive Use of Force, Failure to Train, Failure to Supervise, Violation of First Amendment Right to Free Speech, Failure to Provide Medical Treatment, (yes, OPD shot Scott in the head, and then failed to treat or assist in any fashion, in fact, protesters drove him to the hospital), Battery, and Negligence.

As many people wonder what the outcome of the lawsuit will be, as far as compensation for Scott’s health care, and loss of income as a direct result of OPD brutality, we had to ask.

“As far as monetary damages, that’s undetermined and we have several points listed that would be determined during the trial,” Olsen told us.

Scott also also told us that he does not want to settle the suit out of court, and looks forward to taking it to trial in order to hold the police department accountable.

“I really don’t want to settle this lawsuit out and keep quite and get my money. I would rather take it to trial and make a big deal about it and hold them [OPD] accountable,” Olsen added.

Read the law suit here.

 Matt Gratz and Courtney Harrop contributed to this report.

Like this Article? Share it!

About The Author

PFB Guest Blogger
Political Fail Blog guest bloggers provide first person reports from protests, rallies and actions from around the globe. Do you have a story to share? Contact us! http://politicalfailblog.com/contact

3 Responses to Interview: Scott Olsen Speaks on his Lawsuit Against the Oakland Police Department

  1. AlanKurtz says:

    Thank you for conducting and posting this interview. It is, far as I know, the first time Scott has publicly rejected any prospective out-of-court settlement with the City of Oakland. “I really don’t want to settle this lawsuit out and keep it quiet and just get my money,” he responds to Courtney’s question. “I would rather take it to trial and make a big deal about it and hold them accountable.”

    Just one small correction, if I may, to your written introduction, where you say, “The lawsuit identifies Robert Roche as the officer who threw a flash-bang grenade at protesters who were trying to come to Scott’s aid.”

    In fact, the suit alleges that Roche “fired a tear gas grenade at Occupy protestors who were attempting to aid Mr. Olsen.” As you know, flash-bang is an explosive whereas tear gas is a chemical munition. There’s a significant difference.

  2. Pingback: Interview: Scott Olsen on His Lawsuit Against the Oakland Police Department « LeakSource

Leave a Reply