Filings made last week in the court of federal Judge Thelton Henderson reveal that the Oakland Police Department’s investigation into which of its officers shot Marine veteran Scott Olsen with a beanbag round on October 25 may have been compromised by the actions of an officer assigned to the case. “It is alleged an OPD investigator compromised the Scott Olson [sic] criminal investigation,” the court document reads. “This will require interviews of several members of CID [Criminal Investigations Division] and Tango Teams [tactical teams armed with less-than-lethal munitions] but will not require any extensive analysis of video or other evidence.”
It is unclear what the officer did — OPD did not respond to requests for comment. The initial investigation into Olsen’s injury appears to have been completed, but the alleged screw-up seems to have slowed down the process. “The complainant was shot in the head with a beanbag round and then a chemical munition was thrown into a group of people attempting to render aid to him,” the report states. “All of the tango team members have been interviewed and extensive video analysis has already been completed. It is likely that interviews of additional officers, as well as a reinterview of the subject will need to be completed.”
The latest revelation marks another black eye for OPD and its response to last fall’s Occupy Oakland protests. Already swamped with more than 1,000 complaints, OPD’s Internal Affairs unit was forced to recuse itself from investigating the accusations because the commander in charge of internal affairs, Captain Paul Figueroa, had been placed in charge of Oakland cops on the night of October 25 after the first Occupy Oakland raid. Delays in contracting with third-party entities to complete reviews of complaints within the mandated 180 days also placed OPD in hot water with Henderson.
Both the Olsen investigation and the probe into allegations that an officer undermined the case are being handled by the law firm Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP, which began work on April 23. Three other cases are being handed over to outside investigators: the beating of Kayvan Sabeghi on November 2 by now-retired OPD Officer Frank Uu; an OPD sergeant’s accusation that command staff did not adequately respond to his squad being surrounded and attacked by a crowd on an unspecified date; and a complaint filed by the ACLU alleging that OPD violated its own crowd-control policy on October 25 by firing tear gas and less-than-lethal projectiles at unarmed demonstrators.