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Scott Olsen and NLG SF Demand Oakland Police Stop Using Less Lethal Weapons At Protests
Scott Olsen's skull was shattered and part of his brain destroyed when an OPD officer shot him in the head with a Specialty Impact Munition (SIM) at a 2011 Occupy Oakland demonstration. As he lay critically injured on the pavement, an OPD officer threw a CS Blast grenade onto him — a teargas device that explodes with a flash of light and loud bang. A new petition seeks to compel Oakland's Mayor Jean Quan and the City Council to ban the use of these weapons.
At least a dozen other people were injured by so-called "less lethal" weapons at the Occupy demonstrations, even though OPD's own policies and federal court orders specify that these weapons may not be fired into crowds. As a result, the City of Oakland has had to pay out more than $7 million in legal settlements to people who have suffered serious injuries from SIM or CS Blasts, including burns, hearing loss, fractures, crushed nerves and scarring. It is only a matter of time before someone is killed in Oakland, as occurred in Boston when college student Victoria Snelgrove was struck with a small plastic SIM that an officer was aiming for another person in a crowd of baseball fans.
We demand that OPD be prohibited from using SIM and CS Blast grenades at demonstrations and other crowd events. These so-called "less lethal" weapons cause serious injuries to innocent people and major liability to the Oakland taxpayers. Other major Bay Area cities don't use SIM, chemical agents or explosives on crowds, and we don't need them here in Oakland.
National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus
San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay.org)