Scott Olsen, the Iraq War vet critically injured by an Oakland riot cop's projectile gas canister, is awake and lucid and awaiting surgery, according to a report in The Guardian. His condition has been upgraded from critical to fair. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that doctors are optimistic he could make a full recovery.
He greeted his visiting parents with "a very large smile," said Warren Lyons, a spokesman for Highland General hospital. "He's able to understand what's going on. He's able to write and hear but has a little difficulty with his speech."
Damage control was in full swing from city officials. All eyewitness reports say Olsen was "provoking no one" when he was hit by a tear gas canister. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was at Olsen's bedside, saying she was "sorry for what happened" and pledged she'd investigate the matter. Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said the incident was "unfortunate."
"I wish that it didn't happen," Jordan said. "Our goal, obviously, is not to cause injury to anyone. ... We regret that this injury happened."
At least 1,000 demonstrators flocked back to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza on Thursday night, where Tuesday's unbelievable crackdown unfolded. A dozen tents were up by nightfall, the Mercury News reports, and police kept a "low profile."
As for the officer who fired a flash grenade at civilians trying to save Olsen's life, a member of Anonymous has offered $1,000 to anyone who would identify him, according to Occupy Oakland's Twitter feed. [Photo via Getty]