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‘Oakland Lockdown’

October 21, 2009

by Rekia Mohammed-Jibrin

"If a child is affected by trauma and the child is never treated, it's going to hugely impact the child's ability to function in the world, and it's going to hugely impact their ability to be successful, to be a healthy, happy human being," says a father whose son was terrorized by police pointing guns at him during a senseless traffic stop. - Frame from 'Oakland Lockdown'
"If a child is affected by trauma and the child is never treated, it's going to hugely impact the child's ability to function in the world, and it's going to hugely impact their ability to be successful, to be a healthy, happy human being," says a father whose son was terrorized by police pointing guns at him during a senseless traffic stop. - Frame from 'Oakland Lockdown'
“Oakland Lockdown” raises public and policy awareness about the destructive and discriminatory practices of policing, parolee surveillance, and the social stigmatization of incarcerated and marginalized, low-income residents of Oakland. Using footage from local policing activity in Oakland, intimate interviews with marginalized residents who have been imprisoned or impacted by the imprisonment of close family members, this documentary brings to light the trauma, destruction and frustration experienced by those who remain repetitively wreaked by the economic, psychological, social and moral stigmatization of criminalization.

With one in 31 people in the United States under correctional supervision — whether in prison or jail or on parole or probation — and millions with a felony record that will never be erased, many struggle to regain their lives and be productive members of their community. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2002, 83 percent of people in jail reported income of less than $2,000 in the month prior to arrest, one-third lower than the average monthly wage of the general public.

Consequently, people who have been incarcerated face obstacles when attempting to find a job and housing and are vulnerable to homelessness and being banned from federal housing, while simultaneously facing severe ruptures with their families. “Oakland Lockdown”’s narrative responds to the recent call for a national conversation on American values in cities like Oakland where violence, racism and incarceration destroy and fragment poor communities of color.

This project cannot occur at a more timely political and economic moment, with legal mandates ordering Gov. Schwarzenegger to reduce and alleviate prison overcrowding. While the governor still appeals the terms of these mandates, his proposals continue to include the construction of more prisons and the transferal of prison populations out of the state of California, further away from their families.

Amidst this prison crisis climate is the spectre of the $19.7 million COPS grant awarded to the city of Oakland that was a part of the $787 billion economic stimulus bill President Barack Obama signed into law this year. The $19.7 million was more money than any other U.S. city received from the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants. How such federal and local police funding intersects with policing practices affecting vulnerable populations on probation, parole and, in particular, how the COPS grant may require the Oakland Police Department to participate in enforcement under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which can require local police agencies to assist the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) in their invasive and discriminatory activities within Oakland is to be addressed in this project.

The impact of the criminal justice system on low-income communities cannot be ignored. Generations of poor people of color disproportionately face race-based policing, controversial parole practices and incarceration; this documentary demonstrates just that. It argues for a larger discussion between community members, lawyers, funders, educators and police officers about the epidemic of violence that Attorney General Eric Holder describes as robbing “our youth of their childhood” and perpetuating “a cycle in which today’s victims become tomorrow’s criminals.”

This doc aims to generate public discussion around the following issues: 1) the criminalization of marginalized populations who experience the mental trauma of violence and lock up, 2) attention towards street policing and parole practices, 3) unreasonable barriers to the reintegration of people returning from prison who are stigmatized with criminal records and 4) how documented and undocumented immigrants are also subjected to controversial policing practices, even though Oakland remains a sanctuary city.

Filmmaker Rekia Mohammed-Jebrin can be reached at jinajibrin@gmail.com.


3 thoughts on “‘Oakland Lockdown’

  1. Malaika H. Kambon

    CHECK IT OUT FOLX:

    THE LAPD’S very chilling iWatch ad @
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/23/lapds-iwatch-terrorism-ad_n_331575.html

    If u are a thinking, positive, progressive and committed person, the question ‘how do u feel about it?’ is strictly rhetorical and a moot point in the face of the onslaught of the politico-military machine which we presently face….

    I personally believe in knowing the movements of the beast, therefore i have a tendency to watch the f**k**g LAPD, any other PD that is around, and as many of their quislings as I can…..

    The LAPD video, in my opinion, is like a YOU TUBE version of the T.I.P.S. program that the U.S. Department of (In) Justice put into place, to have ‘neighbor’ spying on neighbor, etc.

    For those of you who do not know, see: Operation TIPS – Terrorism Information and Prevention System. The Federal Government Begins a “Citizen Watch” http://www.dojgov.net/TIPS-01.htm ) and Operation TIPS – US Citizen Spy Program http://www.greaterthings.com/News/Stasi/index.html

    clever, clever little piglets, to make sure that their propaganda piece is ‘diversity’ intensive…

    it is also not coincidental, for my two cents worth, that this video is coming out right at the time that the venue for killer-cop Johannes Mehserle’s murder trial has been changed to who god knows where, out of Oakland.

    Mehserle’s assassination of Oscar Grant III has been seen universe wide because the system’s oh so secret execution style murder was caught in the act on cellular phone and posted around the world.

    Their technology jumped and bit them in the ass. The pigs were busted. Their cover was blown by cell phone…

    Thus, this LAPD video ‘iWatch’ – and the venue change – are two of their ways of retaliating…

    and did u note that the negroes in the flick didn’t give ANY names to their faces?

    No first names, no last names, no fake names – no nuthin…

    But the people speak, and have risen to the occasion, as usual…

    Check out the following Oscar Grant video @ http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/07/21/18611878.php

    It was put together by Oscar Grant’s Family and community members. The world needs to know that Oscar Grant is a son, a nephew and a loving father, a human being.

    The universe needs to remember what it has lost…

    Also, check out the front page online of this week’s SF BAYVIEW Newspaper http://www.sfbayview.com/for information on two new films:

    OAKLAND LOCKDOWN by filmmaker Rekia-Mohammed Jebrin and OPERATION SMALL AXE by MOI JR.

    War Without Terms,
    m

    Reply

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