By John Ballard
Last night's events in Oakland are old news now, but Marine veteran Scott Olsen remains in the hospital.
OAKLAND -- A 24-year old Marine Corps corporal and Iraqi war veteran remained in critical condition at Highland Hospital on Wednesday night with head wounds and brain swelling after being injured in Tuesday's Occupy Oakland confrontation.
Friends say he was hit in the head with a police projectile during the protest in downtown Oakland late Tuesday night.
Scott Thomas Olsen, 24, of Onalaska, Wisc., was admitted to Highland after he was hit on the head above his right eye during clashes with police, said hospital spokesman Curt Olsen, who is not related to the veteran.
"It's absolutely unconscionable that our citizens are going overseas to protect other citizens just to come back and have our own police hurt them," said Joshua Shepherd, a six-year Navy veteran and friend of Scott Olsen's.
Fellow protesters brought him in after he failed to respond to basic questions. Doctors at the hospital said that Olsen had brain swelling and placed him under immediate supervision.
"He survived two tours in Iraq," said Adele Carpenter, a friend of Olsen's and a member of the Civilian Soldier Alliance. "This struggle has high stakes, I really respect the fact that Scott was standing up for what he believes in. He's really passionate about social justice causes."
Olsen appears to be the first serious injury nationwide of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread to virtually every major American city -- and several smaller ones
[Michael Heaney, assistant professor of organizational studies and political science at the University of Michigan] said the Oakland police action -- closing down the encampment -- may have been a mistake.
"One of the things that I've been impressed with the Occupy movement is there hasn't been any violence" against people or property, Heaney said. "It's impressive because the people at the heart of this movement are self-identified anarchists. The Occupy movement is organized by anarchist principles of decentralized movement."
Until this week, the movement had been disciplined -- then the Oakland police eliminated the encampment outside City Hall, Heaney said.
"People are going to respond to that in a not-peaceful way," Heaney said. "Either they (law enforcement officials) expected that this would be the response or they were incompetent not to expect this response.
"When you engage in (more than) 100 unjustifiable arrests, basically what you do is give credibility to the people you're trying to stop," Heaney said. "The smarter strategy on the part of police is to ignore them and it would eventually burn out and people would go home."
Oakland police said about 300 protesters were gathered in Frank Ogawa Plaza, the park in front of City Hall, and began throwing rocks and bottles at officers about 10 p.m. Tuesday after police told the demonstrators to disperse.