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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons
Kill and be killed: Police murders in Oakland
National news wires lit up with shocking news that four Oakland, California, police officers were shot dead on March 21 in two separate gunfire exchanges with 26-year-old parolee Lovelle Mixon.
It began with an apparently routine traffic stop by two motorcycle cops when suddenly Mixon opened fire, killing one on the spot and mortally wounding another.
In a final shootout at his sister’s home several hours later, two SWAT officers were killed with an assault rifle before Mixon himself was fatally gunned down.
Another violent police confrontation in the Black community; not the first, not the last. Basic conflicting social, economic and political interests remain between the protagonists and are sure to explode again.
Predictably, the bloody aftermath produced cries of outrage from self-righteous establishment politicians fanning stoked emotions to justify renewed calls for increased police patrols, stricter probation standards and harsher punishment of offenders.
This completely misses the point. Haven’t we heard enough of these domestic versions of “Shock and Awe?”
What more can be done to repress a Black community that already comprises 40 percent of the national prison population of nearly 2 and a half million and suffers an unemployment rate double that of the white population?
Oakland is not unlike Black communities elsewhere with huge deficits in education, income and jobs. Squeezed into dilapidated corridors of economic neglect, big-city minorities endure horrible sub-standard living conditions.
Crime and punishment
One of the worst consequences is crime in the Black community. It is no joke. It is real, it is violent and it is extensive. It is rare for a family not to have been touched by senseless predatory acts among and between Black youth.
But police are not the solution.
Cops are not equipped to either understand, appreciate or address the despair that spawns violence so prevalent in the Black community.
Instead, it better suits their “law enforcement” approach to virtually treat whole sections of youth as criminals.