SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A former U.S. Army Ranger and Occupy Oakland protester was in intensive care on Friday after a veterans group said he was beaten by police during clashes with demonstrators this week.
The veteran, identified as Kayvan Sabeghi, was the second former American serviceman during the past two weeks to be badly hurt in confrontations between anti-Wall Street protesters and police in Oakland.
The group Iraq Veterans Against the War said Sabeghi was detained during disturbances that erupted late on Wednesday in downtown Oakland and was charged with resisting arrest and remaining present at the place of a riot.
Highland General Hospital confirmed that Sabeghi was a patient in the intensive care unit there.
Brian Kelly, who co-owns a brew pub with Sabeghi, said his business partner served as an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said Sabeghi told him he was arrested and beaten by a group of policemen as he was leaving the protest to go home.
“He told me he was in the hospital with a lacerated spleen and that the cops had jumped him,” Kelly said. “They put him in jail, and he told them he was injured, and they denied him medical treatment for about 18 hours.”
The Oakland Police Department did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Sabeghi’s name was listed by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office as one of more than 100 people arrested that night.
The veterans group said in a statement that police struck Sabeghi with nightsticks on his hands, shoulders, ribs and back, and that in addition to a lacerated spleen he suffered from internal bleeding.
Clashes between police and demonstrators broke out in the early morning hours of Thursday in downtown Oakland following a day of mostly peaceful rallies and marches citywide against economic inequality and police brutality.
The Port of Oakland was forced to shut down during those demonstrations, sparked in part by the severe injury of another former serviceman, ex-Marine Scott Olsen, during a confrontation with police last week.
Olsen’s injury became a rallying cry for the anti-Wall Street protest movement nationwide.
Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston