Oakland agreed to pay an Iraq War veteran $4.5 million to settle a federal lawsuit he filed after a city police officer shot him in the head with a beanbag during an Occupy protest, nearly killing him and leaving him with permanent brain damage, attorneys said Friday.
Scott Olsen, 26, was among more than 1,000 demonstrators protesting the police clearing of an Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall when he was struck by the beanbag on Oct. 25, 2011. Widely viewed images of him falling in the street and being carried away while bloodied ignited outrage and sparked further protests.
The payout is the latest in a series of settlements by the city involving mass protests. It comes as Oakland police continue to grapple with how to balance the free-speech rights of activists with a desire to maintain order amid large, often unruly crowds.