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Police 2, Oakland residents 4
On New Year’s Day 2009, much of the world’s attention was focused on the Israeli led massacre of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the Middle East, a place where snipers and suicide bombers fighting against an occupying force are everyday realities. This story was given a break when the police murder of 22-year-old unarmed Black father, Oscar Grant III, killed in an East Oakland BART station, was caught on tape by dozens of witnesses and aired on TV. Ironically, no one knew that these would be two of the first tests of how progressive this new Black American president, Obama, is.
Fast forward nearly three months later - after the first of a series of Oakland rebellions made the police arrest BART police triggerman Johannes Mehserle in Nevada and after the bailing out of Mehserle for $300,000: On March 21, 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon was murdered by Oakland police after allegedly killing four of them on MacArthur Boulevard off of 73rd Avenue in East Oakland.
Ironically, thousands of people at the same time Lovelle lost his life were protesting the war in Iraq, when San Francisco police attacked the crowd. But only dozens gathered to see what happened to Lovelle Mixon, who let his actions speak about what he thought of the racial profiling in our community.
This time, instead of the Gaza Strip in the Middle East, we’re talking about the MacArthur Strip in East Oakland. Instead of the occupation force of the Israelis in Palestine or the Americans in Iraq or Afghanistan, the low income Black communities in America are dealing with the police, FBI, ATF and DEA, to name a few. Instead of a suicide bomber or a sniper holed up in a building, Lovelle turned out to be a suicide sniper who used a gun instead of a bomb to take out enemies of the community.
Now that the rabbit has the gun, the police and the media want us to forget the despair that they now feel is the same way we repeatedly feel when we are indiscriminately killed in the streets by police, as in the cases of Oscar Grant, Terrance Mearis, Donte Story, Amadou Diallo, Annette Garcia, Adolph Grimes, Casper Banjo, Anita Gaye, Aaron Harrison, Kathryn Johnston, Sean Bell and Gary King, except in our cases we know that no police officer is going to serve any real time for murdering members of our community.
Now in the days following what some in the Black community see as a day of heroic resistance against the police, the mainstream news is working overtime to show Black toddlers putting flowers on the police-created “street memorials” of the four officers, as well as an old Black woman crying at one of the scenes, talking about how dangerous this East Oakland community has become.
The reality is, when you go to the scene, which I did a number of times, you see very few residents of the area - especially young Black males - with any sympathy for the officers, because for decades Oakland police officers have run rampant over the Black community. Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, one of the officers killed, long patrolled North Oakland, wreaking hell on young Black males.