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An infamous legend is born and a community is under siege

March 24, 2009

Fallout from the Oakland police killings will be cosmic

by Kevin Weston, New America Media

Graphic by Arturo Tejeda and Kevin Weston
Graphic by Arturo Tejeda and Kevin Weston
Oakland - This is how infamous legends are born, repressive laws are passed and communities are occupied and terrorized.

Lovelle Mixon – the suspected shooter behind the deaths of four Oakland police officers on Saturday – has joined the pantheon of Black men who have conducted deadly rebellions, though the parolee was 26 and living in the 21st century in Oakland, Calif.

Moving forward, you’ll have to mention his name with Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, Huey Newton, Jonathan Jackson and Larry Davis. Depending on your politics, all of these men are cold-blooded murderers or heroes in the human rights struggle for Black people in America.

We don’t know yet what Mixon’s politics were, whether there was some calculated consciousness that could be articulated behind his heinous actions. It doesn’t matter. One thing is clear: All of these men’s actions led to decisive reactions by government to squash the community responsible for producing them.

Mixon was killed after he shot five officers – the fifth was grazed in the head by a bullet from Mixon’s assault rifle, according to reports – but it is the African American community of Oakland, particularly young Black males, that will have to live with the inevitable political and social backlash that accompanies open armed rebellion against the powers that be that result in police officers getting killed.

This incident couldn’t have come at a worse time for Oakland: with its scandal-plagued and embattled police department, its second-guessed and ridiculed mayor – Ron Dellums – and its shrinking, increasingly unemployed and desperate African American community.

Even as the protests against police brutality and misconduct continue in association with the New Year’s Day killing of Oscar Grant by BART police, Black Oakland has to brace itself for a new official onslaught of the magnitude not seen since the kidnapping, rape and murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas in Petaluma led to the enactment of the Three Strikes Law that turned California into the modern American gulag it is today.

The Grant case is a particularly brutal reminder that, although we have a Black president, African American life is still cheap on these streets to the police. The dozen murders in Oakland after Grant will let you know Black life is cheap to Black people – the typical suspect and victim of murder in Oakland is young and Black and male – and, by extension, everyone else in this society.

But the videotaped shooting of Grant outraged young people in the Bay Area, and the residue of that seeming execution lies on the skin like a putrid oil you can’t wipe off. Grant is the latest in a list of outrages that has led up to this latest atrocious mass murder. Two other cases that stand out are the 2008 shooting of 51-year-old Anita Gay in nearby Berkeley, and the 2007 shooting of 20-year-old Gary King Jr. in West Oakland – the birthplace of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Both of the victims were unarmed and their shooting deaths occurred in front of witnesses.

The Grant case is a particularly brutal reminder that, although we have a Black president, African American life is still cheap on these streets to the police.

The Bay Area isn’t alone when it comes to Black communities in a battle with police departments, which makes you wonder why there aren’t more Lovelle Mixons.

Chicago has a long history of corrupt police, with cops working as enforcers for the mob and has one of the highest officer-involved shooting rates in the country. In New York City, the acquittal of four police officers accused of killing Sean Bell in a hail of 50 bullets was another outrage in a long history of injustices committed by police against the Black community. In Inglewood, Calif., the feds are investigating four officer-involved killings in the last 18 months. La Habra, Calif., Lima, Iowa, Atlanta, New Orleans – the list of controversial shootings goes on and on.

If there were a scoreboard that displayed the number of police killed by Black people versus the number of Black people killed by police – it would look like the scoreboard of the Lakers playing a junior high school team. So when an aberration like Mixon appears – a once in a generation kind of event – the implications are cosmic.

While the Obama administration is focusing on the economy and Afghanistan and Iraq – there is that age-old conflict between the overseers/officers and the people. Violence was the No. 1 issue of concern in the Black community before the economy tanked, and during the presidential campaign the only candidate who addressed it was Hillary Clinton. How long will it be before Obama has to face this issue head on?

If there were a scoreboard that displayed the number of police killed by Black people versus the number of Black people killed by police – it would look like the scoreboard of the Lakers playing a junior high school team.

Not to mention that, just like after the Vietnam War, ex-military are flooding police departments, meaning that the rules of engagement on the streets are bound to change for the worse. We are going to have to deal with younger – less experienced – police used to killing brown men, women and children in Iraq or Afghanistan, looking at us like we are the Taliban or insurgents in our own neighborhoods.

In the meantime, I’m telling all the young brothers I know who stay in Oakland to pump their brakes – there are mad cops out there and your life is worth even less than it was 48 hours ago, when it was worth almost nothing to anyone.

Kevin Weston is a writer and director of New Media at New America Media. Email him at kweston@newamericamedia.org.

21 thoughts on “An infamous legend is born and a community is under siege

  1. Bob

    Unbelievable. That somehow you are depraved enough to find a moral equivalency between the death of Oscar Grant and the deaths of four OPD officers.

    FUCK ALL YOU ASSHOLES!

    Reply
  2. John Bonaccorsi

    Few blacks are productive enough to thrive in civilization — i.e., among whites or Asians. Though few of them are willing to acknowledge that, it must be as clear to them as it is to everyone else. In addition, many non-blacks — nearly all, I’d guess — have an aversion to them. Blacks are obliged, as everyone is obliged, to do the right thing. They should stop reproducing.

    Reply
  3. view_resdient

    how in the world can you compare this piece of garbage rapist killer to Oscar Grant? You have really gone off the deep end. QUit your job and find another line of work, seriously. dumb.

    Reply
  4. Aion

    Hey, I look forward to better military and urban comabat trained officers hitting the streets and protecting the public. Especialy from people like Mixon.

    If you want to change your life, spend the money on some books, instead of a gun. Mixon made his choices, nobody made him go and get a gun, again.

    At some point you as a journalist have to take some personel responsibility. But this article isn’t journalism, is it ? It is merely propaganda.

    Reply
  5. W. Brown

    Someone else thought african american life is cheap on the street. That someone is Mixon. Turns out he likes to rape 12 year olds and prey on women in the african american community. He was also linked to a murder in the community. He’s not a martyr or a legend. Oakland’s african american community should be celebrating that this predator of his own people is now where he belongs…in hell.

    Reply
  6. StreamVNC

    Mixon was a murderous thug and rapist. Anyone who tries to equate him to the plight of injustice is dellusional…

    Reply
  7. voice of reason

    Nice try at spinning this horrible crime into another “po black folks” victimology scenario. Ya’ll made your bed now sleep in it. And start snitching!

    Reply
  8. Anglo European American

    This is written by a Black Supremacist who will soon be forgotten. Trying to claim this piece of shit was a martyr shows what is wrong with Black America. If homeboy was trying to turn his life around why did he murder 1 person, rape 5 women and then go ape shit on the cops? This all after his stint in the pen….
    It is time for blacks to take a page from Bill Cosby’s book. Stop trying to be the victim all the time and try being man. Go to work, raise the kids you made and be a decent human being. Thug life is for pussy punk asses!

    Reply
  9. Andrea

    If the SF BayView was responsible, they would remove immediately the ability to comment on this article. Articles such as these signal gateways for folks to put forth some really uninformed, inflammatory, racist flaptrap. Regardless of what your opinion is on the article, nothing warrants this level of racist feedback.

    Reply
  10. c.crane

    Thats not fair to compare Lovelle to the earlier people.The earlier people got blamed for a lot of stuff.The Black Panthers helped their own communities with food programs. Do the young people today even know what good things blacks did historically,say in the sixties?

    Reply
  11. Ivy

    The young kids today think that killing is fun and normal. Look on their my spaces a bit, you will see teen kids possing with guns.They think it shows that they are tough.

    Reply
  12. Reagan Youth

    Uhm, let’s see, what angle do I use today as a right wing troll on a black news website? Do I pretend to post as like 10 different people? Or do I pretend that I’m black, using phrases like, “ya heard?”. Hmmn. Guess I’ll try both.

    Reply
  13. white guy

    Time for some “armed rebellion” against the niggers of Oakland. You are niggers. That’s why you write articles & have web sites like this one.

    If it wasn’t for the white man, you’d all still be back in africa beatn’ the tomtoms.

    Reply
  14. Nefertitiisaracist

    and if there were a scoreboard that displayed the number of black people killed by the police versus the number of black people killed by other black people, it would look like the scoreboard of the Lakers playing my daughter’s kindergarten class. Where is all of your outrage for the other one hundred plus dead black people in Oakland last year. You’re all a great pack of whiny hypocrites. Clean up your own mess and then maybe police officers would not be coming into contact with all your sociopathic savages who are presently hunting on the streets of Oakland like it was the Serengheti Plain.

    Reply
  15. a white boy

    Ok i must say what mixon did was wrong and he probly was a really bad person. I come from a middle class white family i am very proud to be white. But all these comments of racism make me ashamed of being white(well half of you are probly some squares or rednecks) but its true go live those men lives for a month and tell me how you would respond. And no they didnt choose that lifestyle, they didnt choose to be uneducated and violent they are products of their environment and its disgraceful how white people think that looking down on other races like trash. Also mixon is a bit justified for killing 2 officers due to rules of engagment but the killing of grant is not justified. stop being ignorant and look at the world your just as bad as the people you point your fingers at…

    Reply
  16. Cory Tye

    Question:Has there not been a recent wave of White on White mass murder killings through out the county? Where is the outrage from the American/Euro community on this issue? Are all Whites now subhuman because of these killings? Should Whites be rounded up and throne in jail? The Hypocrisy is exponential!

    Reply
  17. Brown Girl from East Los

    Cory Tye – From the comments on this article, I would say your idea might not be such a bad one.

    Reply
  18. Leila

    The author uses the word “rebellion” a lot. Let’s call it what it really was, MURDER plain and simple. Your politicizing of this is plain stupid. Don’t make this Mixon guy sound like a hero, because killing random cops is not equivalent to fighting against “the powers that be”. Murder is evil and THAT’S THAT no matter what the skin color of the parties involved. No one has the right to take someone’s life.

    Reply
  19. CheBrigade

    why did TWO motorcycle poor-lice stop lovelle mixon? still no official reason beyond the “routine stop” propaganda.
    also,why didn’t the poor-lice notify parents/residents/school officials @
    markam elementary that there were rapes in the area before the last stand on lovelle hill incident,so people could provide safety for 12 yr old girls?

    more propaganda.

    Reply

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