November 9, 2011
by Stephen C. Webster
In a video published to YouTube, an unidentified protester holding a video camera, filming a police line during the early hours of Thursday, Nov. 3, is apparently shot with a rubber bullet even after repeatedly asking officers, “Is this okay?”
Rubber bullets, though considered non-lethal, have killed people before. They can also cause serious internal injuries and even break bones. Despite their name, rubber bullets are small metal cylinders merely coated with a layer of rubber, and can be launched from traditional firearms. (Update: There’s been some speculation that this person may have been shot by a beanbag round instead, but it remains unclear.)
The incident took place following Thursday’s call to general strike, which saw tens of thousands of protesters shut down one of the city’s major highway overpasses. Though the event was largely peaceful, police said they made 103 arrests, mostly for protesters who failed to disperse after being told to leave public spaces. There were also reports of some vandalism and broken windows, although it was not widespread.
Police were heavily criticized for their alleged role in beating Iraq veteran Kayvan Sabehgi with nightsticks as he was walking home from the protest. Although he suffered a ruptured spleen and was in extreme pain pleading for medical attention, none was given, and officers allegedly accused him of being a drug addict. Sabehgi was finally allowed to see doctors 18 hours later, when paramedics had to physically remove him from his cell because he was in too much pain to walk. Authorities said they were investigating the incident.
He was the second Iraq veteran to be seriously injured by riot police in Oakland amid recent protests. On Wednesday, Oct. 26, Marine veteran Scott Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull and minor brain damage that has impaired his ability to speak after he was hit in the face with what protesters claim was a police tear gas canister.
This video was published to YouTube on Nov. 5, 2011 [Ed. at antiprocon’s channel].
Second Iraq War vet hospitalized after Oakland protest
November 4, 2011
by Muriel Kane
The Guardian reported on Friday that a second Iraq War veteran is in intensive care in an Oakland Hospital, with a lacerated spleen allegedly resulting from a beating by police during the protests on Wednesday night.
This follows the case of Scott Olsen, who was shot in the head with a tear gas projectile during last week’s protests and suffered brain damage for which he remains in the hospital.
Kayvan Sabehgi told the paper that he was walking through central Oakland around midnight on Wednesday, trying to get away from the violent clashes that had broken out, when he came face to face with a line of police officers.
“They told me to move, but I was like: ‘Move to where?’,” Sabehgi recalled. “There was nowhere to move. Then they lined up in front of me. I was talking to one of them, saying ‘Why are you doing this?’ when one moved forward and hit me in my arm and legs and back with his baton. Then three or four cops tackled me and arrested me.”
Sabehgi says he was handcuffed and held in a police van for three hours, and that by the time he reached the jail he was in “unbelievable pain.”
“My stomach was really hurting,” he says, “and it got worse to the point where I couldn’t stand up. … I was vomiting and had diarrhoea. I just lay there in pain for hours.”
According to Sabehgi’s sister, when he asked for help the police accused him of being a heroin addict, an alcoholic, and a diabetic.
When his bail was posted the following afternoon, he was in too much pain to leave his cell, so he was simply left lying on the floor until an ambulance was finally called, eighteen hours after his arrest. He was taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery on Friday afternoon in an attempt to repair his spleen.
A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed to the Guardian that Sabehgi had been admitted, and Reuters has since reported that the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department lists him among those arrested on Wednesday night. Alameda is also suspected of having been responsible for the shooting of Scott Olsen.
Brian Kelly, who co-owns a brew pub with Sabeghi, told Reuters that his partner, a former Army Ranger who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, “told me he was in the hospital with a lacerated spleen and that the cops had jumped him.”