Oakland Police Shooting Debate Rages on Internet
YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, News Report, Eming Piansay Posted: Mar 25, 2009
Editor’s Note: Groups lauding and excoriating Lovelle Mixon, who reportedly killed four Oakland police officers, have sprung up on the Internet. NAM contributor Eming Piansay went online to see what bloggers are saying about the killings in Oakland and their aftermath.
Following the shooting death of four Oakland police officers and the suspected shooter, Lovelle Mixon, this past weekend, the community of Oakland and beyond tried to come to terms with the horrific news and somehow make sense of the tragedy – both on the streets and on social networking sites.
The initial reaction for many was fear.
Jessamyn Sabbag, a member of the organization Coalition Against Police Executions (CAPE), said, “People are scared to go out of their houses. The reality is of the police being really angry, scared and targeting people who they perceive to be a threat. You know they’re going to want a sense of retribution or justice.”
The community’s sadness and anger was evident on social networks such as MySpace and FaceBook.
On FaceBook, groups sprung up with the names, ‘Lovelle Mixon deserved to die’ and ‘Lovelle Mixon is a hero,’ cataloguing the wide range of opinions.
Both forums hosted a war of words between users.
One user from the East Bay said, “I'm only sorry his death wasn't drawn out. Sure, he deserved to die. In fact, he should have been aborted. I just wish that his death would have been more slow, more painful... just to give him an idea of what the pain must have been like for the officers who were shot (multiple times, of course) and who, unfortunately, didn't die right away.”
The creator of the ‘Lovelle Mixon is a hero’ forum started off the discussion with the post, “Lovelle Mixon - what a guy. What else is there to say about the hero who blew away FOUR police. WOW I am in awe of you Lovelle. Top boy and great work.”
The most popular online forum was one dedicated to the memory of the four slain Oakland police officers – showing that, at least on the Internet, sadness outweighed fear and anger.
“Our prayers go out to the families of the fallen officers of the Oakland Police Dept,” wrote one user. “Our father Louis La Rocca was captain of the Oakland Police Reserves and served proudly. God bless all of you.”
But some held a more critical view of California’s law enforcement.
One 24-year-old MySpace user commented, “California police have been maliciously abusive of the minority communities for so long, frankly I'm surprised that it’s not open season on police in California. After that kid was murdered in cold blood a few months back by police, I'm really surprised more cops have not been slain.”
For some, the showdown between Lovelle Mixon and Oakland police brought back memories of the Oscar Grant murder on New Year’s Day.
“My thoughts immediately went towards the Oscar Grant situation. Because I think things are at a fever pitch in regards to people in the community and police,” said Aaron Bollwinkel, an Oakland resident, the day after the shooting. “We already have a pre-disposed dislike for officers. This guy gets pulled over, he might have already hated the cops, who knows what was going through his mind, and other people are going to look at it as justice.”
But Cat Brooks, also a member of C.A.P.E., believes the two incidents are “apples and oranges,” and despite the way non-police-related deaths have been treated, Brooks said, “Any loss of life is one that should be mourned. Any loss of life should have attention.”
Young People Anticipate the Aftermath of Mixon’s Rampage
An Infamous Legend is Born and a Community is Under Siege
First Response: Oakland Young People React to Police Killings
Page 1 of 1