Injured Elevation 66 Co-owner, Questions Remain

Kayvan Sabeghi, a founding partner of the Elevation 66 brewpub, is out of the hospital after being injured during an arrest by Oakland police at Occupy Oakland protests a week ago, but several questions cloud the incident and the original reporting on it.

Elevation 66 co-owner Kayvan Sabeghi, who said he was seriously injured by police who arrested him during Occupy Oakland disturbances last week, is recovering well after being released from the hospital, according to one of his business partners.

At the same time, both lingering and new questions remain unanswered since his arrest by Oakland police at 1:30 a.m. Nov. 3, the near-riotous evening that made news after vandalism and police-protestor clashes flared following a "general strike" action during the day by Occupy movement supporters.

The police side of what happened still hasn't been revealed.

Johnna Watson, public information officer, for Oakland police told Patch Thursday the department "is conducting an investigation regarding Mr. Sabeghi."

According to , Sabeghi is a U.S. military veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who said he was leaving the protest scene and trying to persuade police to let him pass a police line to go to home when he was beaten by police with batons and arrested. He was quoted as saying he was kept in jail for several hours despite being in excruciating pain and wasn't taken to a hospital until 18 hours later.

News accounts said he suffered a lacerated or ruptured spleen and underwent surgery Friday at the Alameda County Medical Center, also known as Highland Hospital.

However, a hospital spokesman told Patch that he did not have surgery at the hospital, and a U.S. Army spokesman told Patch that the army has no record of  Sabeghi being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Sabeghi could not be reached for comment.

In footage of his arrest shot by KTVU television, Sabeghi said to police and sheriff's deputies around him, "I'm an Iraq war vet. I had two tours in Iraq. I had two tours in Iraq, one tour in Afghanistan." It was widely reported that he was the second war veteran injured in the Occupy Oakland protests following the injury of Scott Olsen on Oct. 25.

Army spokesman Troy Roland said Thursday that the army has no record of Sabeghi being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Another army spokesman, Paul Prince, said Sabeghi served as a sergeant eligible for army Rangers. He joined the army in November 2003 and was discharged four years later, Prince said. Reuters reported Sabeghi had been based in South Korea when he left the army.

One of his Elevation 66 partners, Brian Kelly, told Patch Thursday that Sabeghi did serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Also on Thursday, Highland Hospital spokesman Curt Olsen said Sabeghi had a "procedure" during his stay at the hospital but did not undergo surgery. He said he could not disclose information about Sabeghi's injuries or treatment.

Sabeghi was released from the hospital Tuesday, Olsen said. "Obviously when we let him go, he was in good condition."

Kelly said Sabeghi's spleen was not removed and that the treatment he received involved some kind of tying or clamping connected with the spleen.

Also on Thursday, a friend of Sabeghi's was quoted saying that Sabeghi "told my wife and me it makes him uncomfortable to be in the spotlight and he would like to settle this matter outside of the public eye as much as possible." The friend, Richie Collins, made the comment in an email sent to the creator of a new Facebook page, "We Are All Kayvan Sabeghi." Collins asked that the page be taken down.

The page was created by Alan Kurtz of Redwood City, who said he had no connection to Sabeghi or his family. Kurtz removed all the earlier posts on the page on Thursday afternoon after receiving Collins' email, and the only post remaining Thursday night was one by Kurtz quoting the email from Collins.

Sabeghi also was highlighted at the El Cerrito City Council Monday when Mayor Ann Cheng said in her opening remarks, "One of our local business owners of Elevation 66 ... was brutally beaten by the Oakland police department, and I just wanted to extend my personal support for his right to be where he was without provocation as a war veteran of Afghanistan and I believe Iraq." She added that she wanted to lend her support for the Occupy Oakland movement.

According to Kelly, Sabeghi said he wanted to return to work at Elevation 66 today (Friday).

Sara November 20, 2011 at 03:23 AM
Walter: This isn't just about Mr. Sabeghi "healing" -- this also concerns the whole East Bay community and the ongoing problems of Oakland police brutality (and police brutality in general). Nothing is healing until this is addressed! Quit trying to sweep it under the rug. Your type of attitude is the apathetic sweep-it-under-rug attitude that allows this kind of crap to continue. In fact, it's your type of apathetic attitude that allowed our country to get into the abominable state it's in that led to the protests in the first place!
Larry Craighill November 20, 2011 at 04:07 AM
Sorry, but I'm going to repeat my first post: Sabeghi "told my wife and me it makes him uncomfortable to be in the spotlight and he would like to settle this matter outside of the public eye as much as possible." Whatever happened, it seems as though the story may have spun a bit out of control judging by the news videos. Let's honor his wishes and let him get on with his life. I just want him to serve me a beer, and I'm sure he feels the same. This will not be swept under the rug. I want Mr. Sabeghi's wishes honored. There will always be other opportunities to air our opinions about this very important movement.
Sara November 20, 2011 at 05:23 AM
Wait, so now you're trying to speak for Mr. Sabeghi? Did he say he wanted to drop the police brutality issue? I don't think so. It sounded like he just wanted random weirdos to stop bothering him personally. And even if he did want to drop the police brutality issue, it is not his issue to drop. It's not just a civil issue. If it were just a civil issue, it would be his issue to drop. But it is a public domain issue now. What the cop did was a crime and a violation of police conduct. That makes it the whole community's business. And I have a right to express my opinion about this in my local community paper, so stop trying to stifle my opinion.
Walter November 20, 2011 at 05:24 AM
Sure Sara you know everything. All I can say is Mr Sabeghi's silence ..speaks loudly.
Sara November 20, 2011 at 05:29 AM
FYI: When you try to stifle peoples' opinions, it just pisses them off and makes them want to express them even more.
Sara November 20, 2011 at 05:44 AM
No I'm not professing to "know everything." I'm just an East Bay resident who is FED UP with police incompetence and brutality and I have a right to express it!!!!!
Larry Craighill November 20, 2011 at 02:50 PM
Remember Monty Python's "Life of Brian". There's a scene where the crowd insists on making him their Messiah, and all he wants is to get his life back. I just wish Kayvan some peace, and hope he gets his life back.
Dave November 21, 2011 at 03:07 AM
Mr Burress, I think your desire to keep this issue in the news serves the community well, but it seems as though your intent is to cast doubt on the unfortunate victim's story. Wouldn't we be better served by an investigation of the police and their actions? My family's sympathy and solidarity go out to Mr. Sabeghi.
Charles Burress (Editor) November 21, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Having sympathy for someone who's been beaten is certainly understandable, but I'd like to clarify that my intent is not "to keep this issue in the news." We've published two articles about this incident, and those articles are like all of our articles that remain accessible in our archives but no longer appear on the homepage. So I'm not sure what you mean about keeping it in the news. Nor is it my intent "to cast doubt on the unfortunate victim's story." It's common practice in our profession to check assertions of fact in the stories we cover, whether the assertions are made by perpetrators, victims or others. If you are suggesting that journalists apply a different standard to victims, that could be an interesting discussion to have, though I don't it would be consistent with current practice.
May Anne Calendar November 21, 2011 at 04:43 AM
Charles Burress, I don't like how you distinguish in your comment between perpetrators and victims. In the story under discussion, which is which? I guess you'd have us believe that cops are the perpetrators and Sabeghi is the victim. But that remains to be seen. The Sheriff's Dept., which operates the jail, has categorically denied mistreating Sabeghi during his incarceration or refusing his requests for medical treatment. The Oakland PD is investigating Sabeghi's arrest to see if excessive force was used. Until an official report is released, it's premature for you to smear the cops as "perpetrators." As for Sabeghi, he broke the law at the scene of a riot and was forcibly taken into custody. How does that make him a victim?
Charles Burress (Editor) November 21, 2011 at 05:16 AM
Apologies if my comment implied that I see the police as perpetrators. I didn't mean to imply a conclusion about police accountability one way or another in this case. I meant to say that no matter what category a person may fall into, or be perceived as falling into, our policy is to confirm assertions of fact insofar as we are able.
Thomas Garrett November 21, 2011 at 05:45 PM
may anne calendar(sic), I agree " It remains to been seen". The Sheriff Dept. claims it offered medical treatment and Sabeghi refused. But what was offered for internal bleeding, an asprin? We don't know how he was treated in the jail ( maybe you have the inside scoop~ wink,wink) How can you say he broke the law if his case in being investigated? Isn't "premature" for you to make that assumption? I'm just sayin
Thomas Garrett November 21, 2011 at 05:51 PM
I wish Kayvan well.
May Anne Calendar November 21, 2011 at 08:35 PM
At the scene of an ongoing riot, Sabeghi willfully disobeyed a uniformed cop's repeated orders to "get out of here." Maybe you don't consider that breaking the law, Thomas Garrett, but I sure do. Here's the video: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/18/occupy-oakland-police-beating-veteran
May Anne Calendar November 21, 2011 at 08:36 PM
So do I, but that's not really the point, is it?
Larry Craighill November 22, 2011 at 12:03 AM
May Anne, the issue is not just about his civil (and peaceful) disobedience. It's about what the officer did with his baton in response to the disobedience. If an officer directs a protester to move and they don't, the officer can arrest and detain the protester, but they cannot simply beat the protester in response. The video shows an act of civil disobedience being responded to with violent (and illegal) force. The video speaks for itself. Our country has not seen this level of civil disobedience in some time, and some of our public safety officers appear to be a bit rusty on their civil rights lessons.
Dave November 22, 2011 at 02:47 AM
May Anne, The fact that you could watch that video and not identify the unarmed human being getting brutalized by people with clubs as a "victim" is disturbing to me. Are your politics are compromising your humanity? What danger were those officers in? Dave
May Anne Calendar November 22, 2011 at 03:24 AM
Kayvan Sabeghi should hope that, when he sues the City of Oakland and Alameda County for millions of dollars in damages, his trial jury will consist exclusively of bleeding-heart liberals like Larry Craighill and Dave.
Larry Craighill November 22, 2011 at 03:32 AM
That's funny May. I was on a jury pool, and the defense chose to exercise their option to remove me because of my close working relationship with a police department. The bottom line is that we are governed by the rule of law, and those who enforce these laws are subject to that very same principle. This is what differentiates our conflicts and protests from those of the "Arab Spring", which bears little resemblance.
Thomas Garrett November 22, 2011 at 07:36 AM
May, you are right! Sabeghi is the perpetrator and the police are the victims. I clearly saw Sabeghi grab that baton and brutality beat that officer!
Alan Kurtz November 23, 2011 at 03:21 AM
On this thread, Charles Burress has been criticized and I have been vilified, much I suppose to everyone's delight. Yet the person who's keeping this story alive is an Englishman named Adam Gabbatt. Last Friday, November 18, The Guardian published his article "Occupy Oakland: footage shows police beating 'peaceful' Iraq war veteran." (Note the scare quotes around "peaceful" as applied to Kayvan Sabeghi.) That same day, Gabbatt also appeared on Current TV's Countdown with Keith Olbermann to further publicize Sabeghi's encounter with OPD. My condolences to Richie Collins, Oscar Webster, Sara and all the other Kurtz-haters on this site. But Kayvan Sabeghi's behavior has long since passed from being a local embarrassment that you can sweep under the rug. It's now an international news story. Welcome to the big leagues.
Eileen Maxwell November 23, 2011 at 06:54 PM
It doesn't matter when or where Kayven Sabeghi served in the U.S Military. He served the people bravely and peacefully the night he was beaten by the Oakland Policeman. The story should be about the policeman who beat him. I understand from the Oakland Police Internal Affairs Division that the police officer is under investigation but they would not tell me if the policeman was put on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. I certainly hope so. Daughter of a US Marshal.
John Stashik November 23, 2011 at 07:30 PM
When you are in an area where there is a riot, you take your chances. The video by the "Guardian" (or whatever), shows what the camera operator wanted viewers to see. It clearly indicates the cops telling a person to go away. Take that command for what it's worth, but police have to protect and defend themselves too when in a hostile environment. Oakland is a dangerous place; more so during riots. In hindsight, Sabeghi should have probably moved. If he had military experience following instructions would have been second nature.
Alan Kurtz November 23, 2011 at 11:22 PM
It does matter when or where Sabeghi served in the military because, according to the article above by Charles Burress, the U.S. Army has no record of him having deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. So when Sabeghi made that claim to the KTVU TV-2 news camera taping his handcuffing, he lied to get undeserved sympathy based on his military service. In conjunction with Burress' additional reporting about the possible exaggeration of Sabeghi's injuries and medical treatment, this raises serious questions about Sabeghi's character. It all becomes even more suspicious given the concerted efforts by Sabeghi's friends and family to quash public discussion of these issues. They clearly want this story to just go away. But it won't. At least, not until Sabeghi himself finally mans up and answers the questions Charles Burress has raised.
Leon Flow November 23, 2011 at 11:52 PM
You're entitled to your opinions, Alan, but as far as I can tell, you and some small local paper are the only ones who seem to care about the legitimacy of his military record. Judging by the very few posts on your "We are all Kayvan Sabeghi" page and the responses on this article, it appears that Sabeghi's actual "friends and family" have been ignoring you, not trying to "quash public discussion". I haven't seen any other news sources that are covering this. Furthermore, the news has long moved on to other acts of police brutality, such as the pepper spraying of university students. Where's your "We are all UC Davis Students" Facebook page? You are obviously more concerned about the legitimacy of someone's claim to be a veteran in old news than the brutal acts being performed by law officers. Move on, I know I am...
Leon Flow November 24, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Or don't move on. It just makes you look like a weirdo with an agenda.
Alan Kurtz November 24, 2011 at 01:12 AM
Leon Flow, you either did not read or chose to ignore my comment on this thread time/date stamped 7:21pm on Tuesday, Nov. 22. I noted that The Guardian published Adam Gabbatt's article "Occupy Oakland: footage shows police beating 'peaceful' Iraq war veteran" last Friday. Gabbatt, I added, also appeared on Current TV's Countdown with Keith Olbermann to further publicize this story. If you Google "Kayvan Sabeghi" in the timeframe Nov. 19 thru today, you'll find additional coverage by ABC7's Wayne Freedman (Nov. 19), Daily Kos (Nov. 20), Gawker (Nov. 21), the International Business Times republished by the L.A. Times (both Nov. 21), Wikipedia (Nov. 22), and hundreds upon hundreds of other sources. So when you state, "I haven't seen any other news sources that are covering this," you're either lazy or lying. You also assert that Sabeghi's friends and family "have been ignoring" me. Again, you ought to read the preceding insults directed at me on this thread: [continued]
Alan Kurtz November 24, 2011 at 01:12 AM
(1) Richie Collins, 4:05pm on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. "Clearly you are a sick individual ... your behavior reeks of a sad and lonely man who uses the misfortunes of others to attract attention to themselves ... you come off as a truly pathetic individual." (2) Sara, 9:21pm on Friday, Nov. 18. "Alan Kurtz: You are a weirdo ... see a shrink." (3) Oscar Webster, 5:29am on Saturday, Nov. 19. "You are an obese 66 year old white male who writes hate articles" and "set up several bogus facebook accounts with the intent to slander innocent people ... you are a disgrace and WILL be held accountable for your actions. You are a sociopath / psychopath." (4) Leon Flow, 4:01pm on Wednesday, Nov. 23. "You look like a weirdo with an agenda." Any fair reader of this thread will conclude that my posts have been rational and coherent, whereas the vilification of me has been wholly ad hominem. That's not what I call "ignoring" me. Nor is Richie Collins' harassment of me by posting the same, identically worded rant 25 times in quick succession on my Facebook page, forcing me to ban him. Or posts from Kayvan's mother, Diane, insulting me and forcing me to ban her. Really, Leon, you and Kayvan's other supporters ought to take your heads out of your butts and address the issues instead of vilifying me personally.
Leon Flow November 29, 2011 at 11:07 PM
Like I said, "Judging by the very few posts..."
Leon Flow November 30, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Alan Kurtz said: "Leon Flow, you either did not read or chose to ignore my comment..." and "when you state, "I haven't seen any other news sources that are covering this," you're either lazy or lying." Wrong on all accounts... Alan, when I said "I haven't seen any other news sources that are covering this", I was talking about the subject of this El Cerrito Patch article, particularly, Sabeghi's military record (also note my previous statement: "you and some small local paper are the only ones who seem to care about the legitimacy of his military record"). And I still haven't seen any other news source questioning his military record, which for some reason has you all bent out of shape. Many sources have stated that Sabeghi was an Army Ranger. Well, rangers get deployed differently than the other branches, including the regular Army, so the Army spokesperson would probably have difficulty confirming. Knowing the military, there are a myriad of possibilities to explain their records. My point is that his military record is not as important as the police brutality which is continuing to be used on protesters. This makes your focus and effort to discredit Sabeghi seem a little wacky; his record is not a priority to anyone but you and maybe the El Cerrito Patch; this is why you seem like a weirdo with an agenda, etc. So you want to talk about heads and asses, well, everyone is addressing the issues of police brutality; this is the real issue. So, take your own advice.


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