Police Hurt One More Iraq Vet in Oakland Demonstrations

Sabehgi who also served in Afghanistan, said the troubles began when he encountered a group of policemen near the encampment.

The second Iraq war veteran suffered after a confrontation with officers at Occupy Oakland march. Photo: Veterans For Peace/ Flickr

The second Iraq war veteran hospitalized after a confrontation with police at Occupy Oakland march. Vet’s friends and some witnesses assured that Kayvan Sabeghi, 32, wasn’t participating in the demonstration when he was injured and arrested.

“There was a group of police in front of me,” Mr. Sabehgi said 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 said the cops handcuffed him and left in a police van for three hours instead of taking him to a hospital.

“My stomach was really hurting, and it got worse to the point where I couldn’t stand up,” he said.”I was on my hands and knees and crawled over the cell door to call for help. I just lay there in pain for hours.”

“I saw he had bruises all over his body, and that’s not right,” Esther Goodstal, who co-owns a brewery with Sabeghi in nearby El Cerrito, said in a phone interview. “No one should treat another human being like this.”

A Highland Hospital representative said the vet was in fair condition but released no further details. Goodstal said Sabeghi had to undergo surgery for about two hours for a lacerated spleen.

“Just because you have the power to do so doesn’t mean you have the right to do so,” Sabeghi said. “You can’t treat people that way. If someone is injured…you have to take care of them.”

Sabeghi was in the list of more than 100 people arrested by 3 p.m. Thursday.

Esther Goodstal said her partner took part in an Occupy Oakland demonstration to the city’s port Wednesday but left when it was over. “After that, he went out with his friend and had dinner,” she said.

After having had dinner, Sabeghi decided to call it a night because he had to work Thursday. He was walking home when he encountered a line of police at the protest who wouldn’t let him through.

“Literally, you (could) see his apartment,” she said. “The police for some reason … said, ‘No, you cannot pass.'”

Goodstal said he tried to explain his situation, but officers began hitting him with batons.

“At one point he asked for assistance and they told him to stop taking heroin,” Sabeghi’s sister said. “Another time they told him he was an alcholic and a diabetic, neither of which are true.”

Goodstal said Sabeghi asked for medical attention several times from a jail cell and an ambulance came more than three hours after another friend posted his bail.

An official who answered the phone at an Alameda County Sheriff’s Office jail could confirm only that Sabeghi had been arrested and released on bail.

About two weeks before, Marine veteran Scott Olsen, 24, suffered a skull fracture during clashes between police and Occupy Oakland participants.

Mr. Olsen, who served in Iraq, worked as a security software engineer. He joined participants at night at Occupy San Francisco before traveling across the bay to the Oakland site, where he was injured. [Via ABC7, NY Daily News and HuffPost]

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