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Shooting at OPD officers’ funeral goes unreported

April 5, 2009

Commentary by Jean Damu

At the Uhuru-sponsored march, rally and vigil at 74th and MacArthur in East Oakland, where five men – Lovelle Mixon, three OPD sergeants and an OPD officer – had died the previous Saturday, this marcher connected the dots between the police murders of Oscar Grant on Jan. 1 and Lovelle Mixon on March 21. Lovelle’s mother, wife, several brothers and at least one cousin were there. To hear from his mother, Athena, his wife, Amara, and her sister, Alicia, words of wisdom and grief, go to www.kpfa.org or www.flashpoints.net and listen to Flashpoints for March 30 show. POCC Minister of Information’s Block Report interview begins 45 minutes into the show, which was broadcast Monday on KPFA and dozens of other stations around the country. – Photo: Dave Id, Indybay
At the Uhuru-sponsored march, rally and vigil at 74th and MacArthur in East Oakland, where five men – Lovelle Mixon, three OPD sergeants and an OPD officer – had died the previous Saturday, this marcher connected the dots between the police murders of Oscar Grant on Jan. 1 and Lovelle Mixon on March 21. Lovelle’s mother, wife, several brothers and at least one cousin were there. To hear from his mother, Athena, his wife, Amara, and her sister, Alicia, words of wisdom and grief, go to www.kpfa.org or www.flashpoints.net and listen to Flashpoints for March 30 show. POCC Minister of Information’s Block Report interview begins 45 minutes into the show, which was broadcast Monday on KPFA and dozens of other stations around the country. – Photo: Dave Id, Indybay
The Oakland Police Department suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot when it further racialized the March 21 shootings by rescinding Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums’ invitation to speak at the public funeral of the four officers who were gunned down.

Initial reports indicated that at least two of the families of the slain officers requested that Dellums not be allowed to speak at the March 28 public event.

One reason given was that The Families didn’t want the funeral to become merely a platform for politicians.

Since the major media outlets, in their rush to canonize the dead officers, have been negligent in following up this story, one is only left to speculate why Dellums was excluded.

But there are other concerns as well.

Casual observers of the Oakland political scene will say that even though Mayor Dellums has led the a fight to get more Oakland police hired, relations between him and the department are not good.

This is hardly surprising, especially to those who remember Dellums’ close relationship with the Black Panther Party decades ago.

Even so, Dellums recently was in the forefront of the struggle to have more police cadets hired and worked closely with wide sectors of the Oakland law and order support community until those good citizens realized their property taxes might go up in order to pay for the increased levels of police protection.

Then much of Dellums’ support for that measure seemed to evaporate. Given all the history and the internal politics that likely exist, the OPD and The Families had every right to rescind Dellums’ invitation. No problem there.

But here is the larger issue.

If Dellums is to be excluded from a public memorial service, why not ask another African American elected official to speak?

Congresswoman Barbara Lee was in attendance. She wasn’t asked to fill in.
State Assembly Member Sandre Swanson was there. He was not asked.
Nor was Keith Carson, member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

Instead, and despite The Families’ disingenuous protests they didn’t want the event to become a political platform, four white politicians, Attorney General Jerry Brown, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer received the blessings of the OPD and The Families.

Nor was a Latino or Asian elected official asked to participate.

By excluding elected officials of African American descent, while including whites only, the OPD and The Families racialized the shootings in a way the ultra-left could only have dreamed.

This is not to say African Americans didn’t participate in the memorial, but all were members and leaders of the OPD.

Is the OPD so insulated from the communities they attempt to patrol they think they are representative of those communities? Are they that out of touch?

Are the major media outlets so out of touch they think the people who attended the public memorial represent the masses of those with whom the police come into contact?

Here is an instructive story.

An on-line journalist from the Bay Area was attending a major Hip Hop conference in Texas. When television news stations there broadcast news of the four OPD members being shot and killed, cheers erupted.

That tells you all you need to know about the great racial divide that exists in this country – a divide apparently unseen by the OPD, The Families and white America in general.

Jean Damu is the former western regional representative for N’COBRA, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America and a former member of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, taught Black Studies at the University of New Mexico, has traveled and written extensively in Cuba and Africa and currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Email him at jdamu2@yahoo.com.

9 thoughts on “Shooting at OPD officers’ funeral goes unreported

  1. carlo

    Dellums hasnt done ANYTHiNG since taking office. The guy barely shows up for work. Its our fault for drafting him, to be the anti-DeLaFuente, and he didnt want the job, but, come on, at least try. This town needs an active mayor, some leadership.

    Reply
  2. the other white meat

    No black folks were allowed to speak..because the black folk are responsible for the officers deaths..plain and simple. Dellums does not come to city hall but maybe 10 hours a week..Mixon’s family should all be behind bars for harbouring a fugitive…his sister knew he was in the closet with an assault rifle..and did not tell the cops..she should be behind bars..East Oakland…you get what you deserve..i hope the cops shoot first then drag your asses out of your stolen cars to finish you off.

    Reply
  3. mary Post author

    As moderator, I could delete this comment, but before I do, I’d like to hear from other readers what you think. To me, this comment goes over the line in the sense that it could be considered a death threat. On the other hand, maybe it should stay as an example of the dangerous racism that this issue stirs up. What do you think?

    Mary Ratciff, editor
    SF Bay View

    Reply
  4. Jean Damu

    I think the comment is too generic to be considered a death threat. I would let it stand.

    I’m going to answer Marty Price’s piece-but Ineed some feed back. One of the things I’m going to mention, because it’s public knowledge, is that Marty is the brother of Styles Price. Styles, and I know the entire Price family well, has for 40 years been considered by the Berkeley Police Dept. the prime suspect in the assassination of a BPD officer in August of 1970 and was jailed for a time two years ago in connection with the n-going investigation. Furthermore, Marty’s brother in law, Bert Smalls opened the original Black Panther Party free health clinics back in the day- so is Marty’s response to my a piece a twisted attempt to ingratiate himself with the law enforcement community?

    Do you think that kind of argument is helpful or should I just leave it alone?

    Reply
  5. Lou

    The cops aren’t “out of touch” and neither is the media. This display was orchestrated. The powers that be used the murder of these so-called “heroes” to reassert that the police and all the violence they bring down on the people is legitimate. Check out this article on the whole counter-attack on the movement that sprung up in response to the execution of Oscar Grant:
    http://revcom.us/a/161/Battle_Oakland-en.html

    Reply
  6. Jim

    This was a racially modivated crime, you blacks like to sause trouble all the time. You seem to have little or no reguard for the white officers deaths, or their families. But seem to ‘glorify’ this jerkoff who had these weapons and shot the police for no reason at all. Well I know why, because they were cops and white. Usually the reason.

    I also notice alot lately, is that everything is an injustice with you people. You complain, complain and complain about everything. Jews and Blacks these days are completely free from any type fo criticism, yet you people critize my people left and right. Its funny how few notice it, and those who do are branded ‘racist whites’.

    I find it odd that your people commit the majority of crimes in this country.Also they make up a large percentage of the prison population, yet they as a people in this nation are not a large group. Strange isnt it? But again its the evil whitemans fault right?

    Jews and Blacks= biggest complainers I have ever come into contact with. As for the non complainers, I tolerate them, but you people complain, complain, complain and criticize my people all the time.

    Reply
  7. bruce

    negroes are the biggest bunch of racist,murdering,thieves in america and you commit 85% of all hate crimes.maybe if you got off your dead asses and worked like the rest of us you could quit whining for hand outs.

    Reply
  8. bp;

    hell yeah fuck 'em' who cares that was their job. They knew the consequences. we as a whole should be more like lovell mixon. Two years with time served!?!? C'mon!! We don't care about theese whit cops, they patrol our area but don't live in this area. They know nothing about our culture, but quick to make a judgement based on their lame ass white experiences. Fuck them cops, Fuck Mehserle……Let LOVELL's Legacy live on!!!!!

    Reply

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