A recording of Oakland police beating Iraq vet Kayvan Sabeghi at an Occupy Oakland protest is now available online. The Guardian was the first to release the footage.
Sabeghi, 32, is an Oakland resident and a former marine who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He suffered a ruptured spleen from the beating, reports The Guardian. His injuries required surgery.
I saw he had bruises all over his body, and that's not right, Esther Goodstal, who co-owns a brewery with Sabeghi in El Cerrito, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. No one should treat another human being like this.
The footage, taken at the Occupy Oakland protest on November 2, depicts what many have decried as an unprovoked attack.
Sabeghi can be seen walking in front of a line of police officers in riot gear. The footage then becomes shadowy. Shortly after, light comes across the screen again and a police officer yells and points for him to move. Then he begins beating Sabeghi with his baton.
The officer follows Sabeghi as he runs away, continuing to hit him, as the man behind the camera yells Stop! Sabeghi then appears to fall to the ground. He was arrested later.
The individual who recorded the footage was Neil Rivas, an artist and photographer. Rivas said that the incident occurred around midnight.
It was uncalled for, said Rivas. There were no curse words. He was telling them he was a war vet, a resident of Oakland, a business owner.
It was pretty much just Kayvan and myself right there at that moment when he got beat, Rivas said.
I couldn't help but start yelling out for them to stop. He was not fighting back; he was moving away from the officer. It did not feel good.
I saw him being taken down to the ground and I tried to keep my camera focused on that as well, but they were pretty quick at setting up a barricade between myself and Kayvan at that point. I was shoved out of the way, and I had several guns pointed my way, he said.
I remember specifically one officer right in front of me having his gun pointed point blank at me.
Sabeghi claimed that he was protesting in a non-violent manner before he was arrested. He told The Guardian that he had been trying to leave the main area where police clashes were occurring and go home before he was beaten and arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest.
He also claimed that it took hours before he was taken to the hospital, even though he complained of severe internal pain.
Police told the Guardian that they are currently investigating the situation. However, police state that they were responding to a small group of anarchists, reports Reuters. These individuals were vandalizing property, setting fires, and breaking into buildings.
Sabeghi is the second Iraq vet to be injured at an Occupy protest. A week prior to the Sabeghi beating, Marine veteran Scott Olsen, 24, suffered a skull fracture during a separate Occupy Oakland clash.
Caution: This video includes graphic language and violence.