Video footage has emerged of a police
officer beating an Iraq war veteran so hard that he suffered a ruptured
spleen in an apparently unprovoked incident at a recent Occupy protest
The footage, which has been shared with the Guardian, shows Kayvan Sabehgi standing in front of a police line on the night of Occupy Oakland’s general strike on 2 November, when he is set upon by an officer.
He does not appear to be posing any threat, nor does he attempt to
resist, yet he is hit numerous times by an officer clad in riot gear
who appears determined to beat him to the ground.
Sabehgi, 32, an Oakland resident and former marine who served in
Iraq and Afghanistan, has since undergone surgery on his spleen. He
says it took hours for him to be taken to hospital, despite complaining
of severe pain. Police have told the Guardian they are investigating
The footage was recorded by artist and photographer Neil Rivas, who
said Sabehgi was “completely peaceful” before he was beaten. “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.”
Sabehgi has previously said he was talking to officers in a
non-violent manner prior to his arrest, which the footage appears to
The 32-year-old can be seen standing in front of a line of police
officers, all of whom are in riot gear. The officers walk forward,
chanting and thrusting their batons, and Sabehgi starts to walk
Although the video is dark, an officer can clearly be seen beginning
to hit Sabehgi around the legs with a baton, then starting to strike
him higher up.
Sabehgi then appears to be bundled to the ground. He was later arrested.
said the footage was shot around midnight on 3 November, as police
approached Occupy Oakland following the 2 November general strike.
Police deployed teargas and non-lethal projectiles that night, after
some protesters entered a disused building north of Frank H Ogawa
Plaza, but Rivas said there did not appear to be an immediate threat to
police at the time of the video.
“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
“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.
“I remember specifically one officer right in front of me having his gun pointed point blank at me.”