SAN FRANCISCO — Oakland will pay Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen $4.5 million for permanent brain injuries he suffered when police broke up an Occupy Wall Street protest in October 2011.
The settlement of his 2012 federal lawsuit against the city was announced Friday.
"I didn't win part of my brain back that's dead," Olsen, 26, said at a news conference. "Right now, I'm still focusing on my recovery and how I can continue to be a productive person in life."
The former U.S. Marine who served two tours was struck by a beanbag when an unidentified officer fired from a shotgun less than 30 feet away. The lead-filled projectile fractured his skull and a vertebrae and caused brain hemorrhaging.
The systems administrator has had to relearn how to talk and has not returned to work.
On Oct. 25, 2011, Olsen was among about 1,000 Occupy Oakland supporters protesting the city's clearing of the anti-Wall Street encampment outside City Hall earlier in the day.
Video and images captured Olsen crumpling to the ground and being carried away bleeding by fellow demonstrators. Outrage was swift against the police and city officials, particularly Mayor Jean Quan, who ordered the tent city removed.
Olsen said he did not expect to be injured by police after surviving combat.
Scott Olsen visiting the site of the Occupy Oakland protest on Nov. 27, 2011, for the first time since being injured a month before.(Photo: Martin E. Klimek for USA TODAY)
"I guess I thought that I wasn't in Iraq anymore, you know, I'd be more or less safe," Olsen said. "I wasn't going to get shot. I wasn't going to be attacked. Oakland police proved me wrong in that, and it makes me feel less safe in general, especially around people who are supposed to be protecting you. I don't feel safe at all around police."
An independent review faulted top police officials for not anticipating the evening protest and not deploying enough officers.
The city will pay $1.8 million, and its insurance will cover the balance. City council approval is likely.
The settlement is one of several involving police accused of using unreasonable force against Occupy Oakland protesters between late 2011 and mid-2012.