- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2011

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Iraq War veteran injured in clashes between police and anti-Wall Street protesters felt so strongly about economic inequality that he wanted to do something to change it, his roommate said Thursday.

Scott Olsen, 24, joined the protests as he worked his day job as a network engineer and left his apartment each night to sleep alongside protesters in San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., Keith Shannon said.

Olsen apparently suffered a fractured skull Tuesday during the clashes.

It’s not known exactly what type of object struck Olsen or who might have thrown it. The group Iraq Veterans Against the War said officers were responsible for his injury.

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said officials will investigate whether officers used excessive force.

An Occupy Oakland protester spray paints the side of a building during a march on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. Except for a couple incidents of graffiti and minor confrontations with police officers, the protesters, who numbered about 1000, remained lawful. (Photo/Noah Berger)
An Occupy Oakland protester spray paints the side of a building during ... more >

Olsen’s has become a rallying cry, with demonstrators in New York City marching on Wednesday night in support of their counterparts in Oakland and a movement website declaring: “We are all Scott Olsen.”

Another round of vigils was being organized Thursday.

Olsen, who is originally from Wisconsin, served two tours of duty in Iraq, makes a good living at a San Francisco software company and had a hillside apartment that overlooks San Francisco Bay.

And yet, Shannon said, Olsen felt strongly about the wealth disparity between the rich and everyone else.

“He felt you shouldn’t wait until something is affecting you to get out and do something about it,” said Shannon, who served in Iraq with Olsen.

Shannon said his roommate felt the anti-Wall Street movement had a chance to create real change.

So each night, he would go out to the tent camps that have sprung up over the past month in cities as the movement spread to protest economic inequality and what they see as corporate greed.

Shannon said Olsen usually called with his whereabouts.

On Tuesday night, Olsen had planned to be in San Francisco, but changed course after his veteran’s group decided to go to Oakland to support the protesters there after police cleared an encampment outside city hall.

“I think it was a last minute thing,” he said. “He didn’t think about it.”

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