Ex-Marine injured in Oakland protest makes public statement

LOS ANGELES Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:29am EST

Veterans Jose Mediavilla (L) and Jason Matherne hold signs in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement and in support of Marine Scott Olsen who was wounded marching in Oakland, California, near Zuccotti Park in New York November 2, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Veterans Jose Mediavilla (L) and Jason Matherne hold signs in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement and in support of Marine Scott Olsen who was wounded marching in Oakland, California, near Zuccotti Park in New York November 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ex-Marine Scott Olsen, whose injury during clashes between Oakland police and demonstrators gave impetus to anti-Wall Street protests, said on Sunday he is "feeling a lot better" in his first public statement since his injury.

In a message posted to social networking site Google Plus, 24-year-old Olsen thanked those who had been tracking his progress for their outpouring of support.

"I'm feeling a lot better, with a long road in front of me," Olsen wrote. "After my freedom of speech was quite literally taken from me, my speech is coming back but I've got a lot of work to do with rehab."

The post is accompanied by a photo of Olsen, smiling with a neck brace on and a visible scar on his forehead.

"Thank you for all of your support, it has meant the world to me," he continued. "You'll be hearing more from me in the near future and soon enough we'll see you in our streets!"

Olsen was released from the hospital late last week, his friend Adele Carpenter, 29, told Reuters.

Occupy Oakland organizers say Olsen was hit in the head by a tear gas canister police fired during a downtown Oakland confrontation on October 25. He was admitted to a local hospital in critical condition.

Acting Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Olsen's injury but police and city officials have not said how they believe the Iraq veteran was injured.

Word of Olsen's injury gave fresh stimulus to the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in September. Activists in Oakland and elsewhere took to the streets, holding candlelight vigils and marches in his honor.

Olsen's statement had received hundreds of responses in support by Sunday evening, with Olsen chiming in at one point during the afternoon to say, "see, this is the kind of support I was talking about."

Olsen served two tours in Iraq, working as a technician and earning a handful of service medals.

Friends say he soured on military life after leaving the service and started a now-defunct website called "I hate the Marine Corps" which served as a forum for disgruntled servicemen.

Olsen received an "administrative discharge" from the service in late 2009, his uncle George Nygaard has said, though the precise reasons for it have not been confirmed.

Such a discharge can result from any number of behavioral or disciplinary issues.

(Reporting by Mary Slosson; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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Comments (8)
GuyMike wrote:
Not a hero. The Oakland situation got way out of hand due to the demonstrators’ foolish anti-everything-I-can-screem-about agenda. Mr. Olsen chose the risk of injury as he chose to participate. Let your voices be heard, but not in the shameful way you have been carrying on. It is too obvious that this whole “occupy” thing is more about people mad about life in general, than people with legitimate grievances. Don’t even try to compare what’s been going on to the patriots of the American Revolution.

Nov 13, 2011 11:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jeff81201 wrote:
GuyMike – you have your perception. We have ours. Big Pharma, Big Ag, Big Coal, Big Oil, health insurers, banks, the medico-industrial complex – all seek to impose policies that benefit their short-term bottom lines at the expense of long term societal good.

Corporations are not people. They do battle on the long-term welfare of the citizens of the United States. I refuse to be their prey.

Occupy On.

Nov 14, 2011 7:09am EST  --  Report as abuse
jeff81201 wrote:
GuyMike – you have your perception. We have ours. Big Pharma, Big Ag, Big Coal, Big Oil, health insurers, banks, the medico-industrial complex – all seek to impose policies that benefit their short-term bottom lines at the expense of long term societal good.

Corporations are not people. They do battle on the long-term welfare of the citizens of the United States. I refuse to be their prey.

Occupy On.

Nov 14, 2011 7:09am EST  --  Report as abuse
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