Oakland pays brain-damaged vet $4.5 million in police suit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oakland has reached a $4.5-million settlement with a Marine veteran who suffered brain damage when a police officer shot him with a beanbag projectile during an Occupy Oakland protest, the city announced Friday.

Scott Olsen, 26, who served two tours in Iraq,  suffered a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury on Oct. 25, 2011, when Oakland police tried to disperse a crowd near City Hall. Olsen said he was standing still and behaving peacefully when he was struck.

When other protesters tried to assist him, an officer lobbed a tear-gas canister at them, according to witnesses at the time.

Video of the scene escalated occupy protests across the country and fueled outrage at beleaguered Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who was out of state when the incident occurred.

"I didn't win part of my brain back that's dead," Olsen told the media during a news conference Friday.

Prior to his injury, Olsen had worked as a computer systems administrator. He has not been able to return to that job. He sued Oakland in federal court in 2012.

“Mr. Olsen suffered a tragic injury that will affect him for the rest of his life,” said  Oakland City Atty. Barbara  Parker, announcing the end to the case. “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.”

Parker’s office said the city would pay $1.8 million, and its insurance carrier would cover the rest of the settlement.


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