Oakland Police Assaults Leave Two Iraq War Vets Hospitalized
November 8, 2011
The Guardian & Veterans Today
Kayvan Sabehgi in intensive care with a lacerated spleen after protests in Oakland, a week after Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen was shot in the face by a police projectile. Sabehgi, the owner of a pub in Oakland, says he was on his way home, walking away from the clash with protestors when police stopped him and assaulted him with batons.
Occupy Oakland: Second Iraq War Veteran Injured after Police Clashes
Adam Gabbatt / The Guardian
(November 4, 2011) -- A second Iraq war veteran has suffered serious injuries after clashes between police and Occupy movement protesters in Oakland.
Kayvan Sabehgi, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in intensive care with a lacerated spleen. He says he was beaten by police close to the Occupy Oakland camp, but despite suffering agonizing pain, did not reach hospital until 18 hours later.
Sabehgi, 32, is the second Iraq war veteran to be hospitalized following involvement in Oakland protests. Another protester, Scott Olsen, suffered a fractured skull on 25 October.
On Wednesday night, police used teargas and non-lethal projectiles to drive back protesters following an attempt by the Occupy supporters to shut down the city of Oakland.
Sabehgi told the Guardian from hospital he was walking alone along 14th Street in central Oakland -- away from the main area of clashes -- when he was injured.
"There was a group of police in front of me," he told the Guardian from his hospital bed. "They told me to move, but I was like: 'Move to where?' There was nowhere to move.
"Then they lined up in front of me. I was talking to one of them, saying 'Why are you doing this?' when one moved forward and hit me in my arm and legs and back with his baton. Then three or four cops tackled me and arrested me."
Sabeghi, who left the army in 2007 and now part-owns a small bar-restaurant in El Cerrito, about 10 miles north of Oakland, said he was handcuffed and placed in a police van for three hours before being taken to jail. By the time he got there he was in "unbelievable pain".
He said: "My stomach was really hurting, and it got worse to the point where I couldn't stand up. I was on my hands and knees and crawled over the cell door to call for help."
A nurse was called and recommended Sabehgi take a suppository, but he said he "didn't want to take it". He was allowed to "crawl" to another cell to use the toilet, but said it was clogged.
"I was vomiting and had diarrhoea," Sabehgi said. "I just lay there in pain for hours."
Sabehgi's bail was posted in the mid-afternoon, but he said he was unable to leave his cell because of the pain. The cell door was closed, and he remained on the floor until 6pm, when an ambulance was called.
He was taken to Highland hospital -- the same hospital where Olsen was originally taken after being hit in the head by a projectile apparently fired by police.
Sabehgi was due to undergo surgery on Friday afternoon to repair his spleen, which would involve using a clot or patch to prevent internal bleeding.
Thousands of protesters had attended the action in Oakland on Wednesday, taking over the downtown area of the city and blockading Oakland's port.
As demonstrations continued near the camp base at Frank H Ogawa plaza during the evening, a group of protesters occupied a disused building on 16th Street at around 10.30pm, with some climbing up onto the roof.
There had been little police presence during the day, but more than 200 officers arrived after 11pm. Some protesters had set fire to a hastily assembled barrier at the corner of 16th Street and Telegraph, in a bid to prevent access to the occupied building, but police drove demonstrators away from 16th Street using tear gas, flashbang grenades, and non-lethal rounds.
Sabehgi said he had not been in the occupied building, and was walking away from the main area of trouble when he was injured. He said he had his arms folded and was "totally peaceful" before being arrested. A spokeswoman for Highland hospital confirmed Sabehgi had been admitted. Oakland police were not immediately available for comment.
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Army Ranger Attacked by Oakland Police
In Critical Condition, Beaten by Police, Attack Not During Demonstration
Gordon Duff / Veterans Today
OAKLAND (November 4, 2011) -- A former Army Ranger and owner of a local Oakland pub, Kayvan Sabeghi, 32, was attacked by a gang of armed police while walking near his home last night in Oakland. The decorated Iraq War veteran and former Army Ranger is thought to have been picked out by police because he "looked foreign."
Sabeghi, who suffered a life threatening ruptured spleen in the unprovoked, racially motivated hate crime, was then arrested for "resisting arrest" and denied medical care. Perhaps the police had made a mistake and the real crime was "walking home" and "resisting arrest" was a secondary charge.
Sabeghi, though near death, was held without medical treatment for hours even after bail had been posted. Hours later, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he remains in Intensive Care.
Though Sabeghi is a decorated war veteran, a group often singled out by police out of "insecurity," this attack also is a likely "hate crime" as well, requiring a federal response.
This is the second attack on an Iraq War veteran in the last few days. Marine Scott Olsen was shot in the head with a metal tear gas canister during last week' s peaceful demonstration. While Olsen lay injured, Oakland police threw concussion grenades at his limp body. Olsen suffered a fractured skull and other injuries. His assaults were filmed but Oakland authorities refuse to review them or discuss the issue.
Despite optimistic pronouncements, there is little chance Olsen will have a complete recovery from his injuries.
This is now two episodes of use of lethal force against military veterans by Oakland police. The last incident may indicate a pattern of targeting of military personnel or veterans by police.
The Oakland department has a long history of corruption, bribery and police misconduct, and, though one of the highest paid in the nation, is rated as one of the poorest performing.
Demonstrations this week have brought out crowds of over 100,000 while gangs of armed police hide in the shadows and hunt down stragglers for arrest, assault and possible robbery.
Last week, police claimed crowds were carrying illegal assault weapons and firebombs but a careful analysis of literally thousands of hours of video proved these statements (meant to provide a sane rationale for police misconduct) to have been false.
We recommend that anyone walking through Oakland stay with groups of more than five, film all police officers in their vicinity and expect assault, arrest or worse at the hands of what had once been a police department and is now little but a shameful mob of anti-American degenerates.
Veterans Today strongly suggests that the people of Oakland petition the board of elections on behalf of a ballot initiative to eliminate all collective bargaining for Oakland police, lower staffing levels by 40%, lower salaries by 35% and end all overtime.
We have generally been opposed to such ballot efforts, such as Issue 2 in Ohio’s upcoming election on Tuesday but feel the Oakland Police have not performed up to reasonable professional standards and the elimination of their bargaining unit and benefits package, including the accrual of sick days and back vacation, may remind them who it is that pays their salary.
Where else can we be certain that cutting police presence is certain to lower the crime rate?
If police are going to act like third-rate security guards, they can get paid like them.
Gordon Duff is Senior Editor of Veterans Today
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