An Infamous Legend is Born and a Community is Under Siege

Fallout from the Oakland police killings will be cosmic

New America Media, Commentary, Kevin Weston Posted: Mar 23, 2009

Traducción al español

OAKLAND, Calif. -- This is how infamous legends are born, repressive laws are passed and communities are occupied and terrorized.

Lovelle Mixon – the suspected shooter behind the deaths of four Oakland police officers on Saturday – has joined the pantheon of black men who have conducted deadly rebellions, though the parolee was 26 and living in the 21st century in Oakland, Calif.

Moving forward, you’ll have to mention his name with Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, Huey Newton, Jonathan Jackson and Larry Davis. Depending on your politics, all of these men are cold-blooded murderers or heroes in the human rights struggle for black people in America. We don’t know yet what Mixon’s politics were, whether there was some calculated consciousness that could be articulated behind his heinous actions. It doesn’t matter. One thing is clear, all of these men’s actions led to decisive reactions by government to squash the community responsible for producing them.

Mixon was killed after he shot five officers – the fifth was grazed in the head by a bullet from Mixon’s assault rifle, according to reports – but it is the African American community of Oakland, particularly young black males, that will have to live with the inevitable political and social backlash that accompanies open armed rebellion against the powers that be that result in police officers getting killed.

This incident couldn’t have come at a worse time for Oakland: with its scandal-plagued and embattled police department; its second-guessed and ridiculed mayor – Ron Dellums – and its shrinking, increasingly unemployed and desperate African American community.

Even as the protests against police brutality and misconduct continue in association with the New Year's Day killing of Oscar Grant by BART police, black Oakland has to brace itself for a new official onslaught of the magnitude not seen since the kidnapping, rape and murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas in Petaluma led to the enactment of the Three Strikes Law that turned California into the modern American gulag it is today.

The Grant case is a particularly brutal reminder that although we have a black president, African American life is still cheap on these streets to the police. The dozen murders in Oakland after Grant will let you know black life is cheap to black people (the typical suspect and victim of murder in Oakland is young and black and male), and – by extension – everyone else in this society.

But the videotaped shooting of Grant outraged young people in the Bay Area, and the residue of that seeming execution lies on the skin like a putrid oil you can’t wipe off. Grant is the latest in a list of outrages that has led up to this latest atrocious mass murder. Two other cases that stand out are the 2008 shooting of 51-year-old Anita Gay in nearby Berkeley, and the 2007 shooting of 20-year-old Gary King Jr. in West Oakland – the birthplace of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Both of the victims were unarmed and their shooting-deaths occurred in front of witnesses.

The Bay Area isn’t alone when it comes to black communities in a battle with police departments, which makes you wonder why there aren’t more Lovelle Mixons.

Chicago has a long history of corrupt police, with cops working as enforcers for the mob, and has one of the highest officer-involved shooting rates in the country. In New York City, the acquittal of four police officers accused of killing Sean Bell in a hail of 50 bullets was another outrage in a long history of injustices committed by police against the black community. In Inglewood, Calif., the Feds are investigating four officer-involved killings in the last 18 months. La Habra, Calif., Lima, Iowa., Atlanta, New Orleans – the list of controversial shootings goes on and on.

If there were a scoreboard that displayed the number of police killed by black people versus the number of black people killed by police – it would look like the scoreboard of the Lakers playing a junior high school team. So when an aberration like Mixon appears – a once in a generation kind of event -– the implications are cosmic.

While the Obama administration is focusing on the economy and Afghanistan and Iraq – there is that age-old conflict between the overseers/officers and the people. Violence was the No. 1 issue of concern in the black community before the economy tanked, and during the election the only candidate that addressed it was Hillary Clinton. How long will it be before Obama has to face this issue head on?

Not to mention that, just like after the Vietnam War, ex-military are flooding police departments, meaning that the rules of engagement on the streets are bound to change for the worse. We are going to have to deal with younger – less experienced - police used to killing brown men, women and children in Iraq or Afghanistan, looking at us like we are the Taliban or insurgents in our own neighborhoods.

In the meantime, I’m telling all the young brothers I know that stay in Oakland to pump their brakes – there are mad cops out there and your life is worth even less than it was 48 hours ago, when it was worth almost nothing to anyone.



Kevin Weston is a writer and director of New Media at New America Media. kweston@newamericamedia.org

Graphic by Arturo Tejeda and Kevin Weston.


Related Articles:

Witness to a Shooting

Amadou Diallo's Renewable Gift to New York

Why Youth Violence Still Plagues Black Communities

Towering Obstacles in Prosecuting the Oscar Grant Killing


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User Comments


screamingdk on Apr 12, 2009 at 16:35:36 said:

kevin I want a copy of the poster of Lovelle.I'm working on a larger poster that has the following people on it. Ahmed Evans,Mark Essex,Geo Jackson,johanathan Jackson,Huey Newton, Assata Shakur,Cinque and Lovelle Maxon. The title of the poster is LOCO MYETTE'S.
Lovell was created by the same system that destroys people of color all over the world. He is just another ex of what racism will turn us into.
As to him being a hero,no as to him willing to fight and die against the police,he just did what so many of us are not willing to do,fight back.
As the Obama myth falls apart you will be seein g more of these kinds of incidents.Wait until alot of these stupid, mercanry soldiers come home with no skills and no jobs. They will make the 70's look like child's play. What the BLA AND THE SLA tryed to do these returning soldiers will push even further.


D on Mar 27, 2009 at 18:37:55 said:

The law-abiding, taxpaying, middle-class black families that live on either side of me also intend to "stay the f**k outta the ghetto" even though that's where the parents were born and they understand it well enough to have the sense to raise their kids correctly. That's why they're welcome in my home and I'd do anything to help them.

And if they see any thugs from the ghetto hanging around our properties, they would call me first thing and we'd have our weapons loaded and ready.

You ghetto patsies can act all big and bad with your drug money and your guns, but as soon as someone breaks into your drug-money Escalade you call the police crying.

I don't care what your ethnicity is, if you have a ghetto mentality you are not welcome in my home, neighborhood, or city.


HANIF BEY on Mar 27, 2009 at 13:34:14 said:

Okay, here we go.
Before the California Department of Corrections or C.D.C releases any prisoner from prison they take a DNA sample from that person and keep it on file. So, they would have known wayyyyyyy before the cops shot Lovelle to death, or better yet before he shot them that he was the person who raped that little girl. They would've ran the sample they got from that little girl against all the DNA they had on file, CDC and otherwise, and from there handled their business accordingly. To hell with missing a meeting with his parole officer in February... there would have been an Amber Alert put out and a Nationwide man hunt for his ass, FBI included.
What now? Do we attribute this gigantic f-up to law enforcement not doing their jobs correctly or to the Media for putting out false info in hopes to smear Lovelles' already bad reputation???
Who knows!!!
Point two: They say it's inconclusive as to "why" the cops pulled Lovelle over in the first place.
That's a load of crap as well. When the cops pull someone over, the first thing they do is "call it in, state what they're doing and why via penal code, run the license plate number and wait for dispatch to respond accordingly with the info they need. Then... they walk up and ask for your info.
If that didn't happen, then why were they stopping him? Could it have been a possible DWB???
Who knows!!! It's inconclusive, right?!
But anyway, like I said in my first comment: A lot of you people don't "K N O W" what the hell you're blabbing about. Quit spouting off useless emotional rhetoric and use your Minds.
P.S.
Do I think Lovelle's a "good guy" or a Hero? No!!!
But I do think he did what a lot of people out there in various Communities think about doing but are toooooooooo afraid to carry out!!! That's the gist of it.
On another note, too many people are caught-up in the proverbial bubble of Political Correctness to look at things for what they really are. Like: Oh yeah, the cops are here to protect us from the "bad guys" and save Grannies' cat from the tree!"
Who is "Us" in this fair-seeming statement?
In the Black Community the cops are viewed as terrorist, gang bangers with a badge. To receive an ass kicking from them is so commonplace that people don't even report it. Why? Cause we know nothing's gonna happen. They get away with murdering us all the time... as stated in my colleagues article. This is our reality or a component of it. The "Us" I spoke of is still in Post 9-11 mode. But "We" are still Post Medgar Evers, Post Gary King Jr., Post Idris Stelley, Post... you fill in the blanks from the list of Justifiable Homicides committed by cops in the Black Community.
Oh yeah, like I said before, & I quote:
"If you aint never been to the Ghetto,
Don't ever come to the Ghetto,
Cause you wouldn't understand the Ghetto,
So stay the f**k outta the Ghetto"
Treach of Naughty By Nature.


Tamia on Mar 27, 2009 at 11:03:13 said:

Does anyone remember, he raped a 12-year-old girl. F anyone who thinks this Mofo was a hero.


Layla on Mar 27, 2009 at 11:00:01 said:

If a man's life is worth nothing to himself, how can he expect it to be worth anything to anyone else? People who have less and live on less the world over manage to survive and thrive in far less hospitable environs. Man up, take control of your own life. An education is free in the US -- take advantage and pull yourself out of poverty and disadvantage...don't expect anyone to do it for you!


Anthony on Mar 27, 2009 at 09:09:49 said:

Very deep man Very deep article you are so true. Sad thing is the conflicts between the cops and minorities was started by the cops. People are quick to complain about the problem but fail to search for the root of the problem, which is why the problem is never solved. I emailed this article to alot of my friends and they agree with your view also. Keep up the good work.


Lion Kuntz on Mar 26, 2009 at 20:10:14 said:

Pedophile Lovelle MIxon took a semiautomatic handgun to terrorize a pre-teen 12 year-old little girl while he left a gob of his DNA in her sodomized buttocks. You have to be crazy to think that the OPD made up the story of the DNA in a case more high-profile than the OJ Simpson case.

They don't need that angle to make the case that Mixon needed killing to stop him shooting that AK-47. It's fully sufficient that he was a convicted felon on parole who had just gunned down two cops out in the streets a block away. The police artist wanted poster with Mixon's face was already printed and in circulation based on the raped little girl's description.

You have to be plain stark raving mad to try lie away the evidence on child-molester Lovelle Mixon, whose contempt for women extended to using his 16 year-old sister and 4 year-old niece as human shields in his sister's apartment of his last stand.

Lovelle brought the cops home to where the girls were so that he could grab the AK-47 and continue his "suicide by cop, insuring that he would never go back to prison where the tree-jumpers who rape children are shanked to death by any member of the prison population by prison code. Probably some black guy would have shanked him simply because they would have more opportunities to do him, but any white, yellow, red or brown would do it if they got the chance first. Prisoners don't consider tree-jumpers as heros.

Pedophile Lovelle Mixon bought that car he was driving with pimp money, something the Black Panthers never would do. Lovelle disrespected his own women kinfolk because he was a pimp in his heart who would rape little girls to break them for high-dollar juvenile prostitution. Gangbang rape is the principal tool of the pimp in conditioning an unwilling female into accepting a lifetime of prostitution for his private profits. Black Panthers treated women as allies and equals, not as slaves. If locked in a room with Angela Davis, poor Lovelle would have had to eat his own nuts.


GCL1 on Mar 26, 2009 at 12:07:06 said:

Spare me the mythology of Ghandi and King. Be silent on what you know not! Both were boot-licking, spook-worshipping uncle toms who sought peaceful co-existance with wickedness.

Ghandi sold out the Indian trade union movement and King was killed before he could reverse his overall stand on Black liberation (initially, he was AGAINST it).

Pacificists are usually 'non-profit' poverty pimps and police agents. Get it thru your thick skulls.

Anyone who challenges white power is considered a criminal, until enough time passes and the state and the corporate media decide to portray otherwise.


HANIF BEY on Mar 25, 2009 at 17:10:18 said:

There are way tooooooo many angles to tackle this incident from. And I see, just based on the comments made about my colleagues article, that people are not using their minds but are primarily functioning on emotion. A lot of you people don't "KNOW" what the hell you're blabbing about. Especially the racist sounding cat Mr. Whiter. Must be a Rush follower.
That being said, I will now leave a quote by one of my hero's:
"If you aint never been to the Ghetto,
Don't ever come to the Ghetto,
Cause you wouldn't understand the Ghetto,
So stay the f**k outta the Ghetto!!!"
Naughty By Nature. Treach


Walter on Mar 25, 2009 at 15:35:39 said:

This article was written by an unintelligent, uneducated, hack who\'s goal is to - and will - perpetuate a stereotype that has plagued a community. Nice work I\'m sure your major funders like Ford would love to know this is your stance on police brutality.

Forget about money, sponsors and your portal to voice ludicrous opinions equal to or worse then Rush Limbaugh\'s.

Look at the youth, look at the example your setting...

If you kill four cops your community will honor you, and you will be rewarded and put on a pedestal as a revolutionist?

Your hurting your community, yourself, and most of all the families that are now father/husband -less.

If you feel so strongly, which I can only imagine your ignorance shows, about your opinions towards the families that lost their love ones. Please do me a favor and knock on their doors tonight and tell them to their face the garbage you just vomited out on this non-profit\'s web page.

You are a coward and the reason why your community is hurting!

You have a power to use your voice in a positive way to help your community and this how you use it.

I think all of your sponsors will enjoy this article. I will forward it along to them and see if they stand with you.


JonnyWalkerBlack on Mar 25, 2009 at 00:53:26 said:

Let's draft 10-20 east oakland black young men, put them thru police academy, and let them patrol their own neighborhood; Don't be surprised after a month on the job, if these young officers stop a fellow young black man at traffic stop, they would shoot first and ask questions later;
it's mind-bogling how ignorant people are; the nastiness and ugliness that police officers have to deal with every day; they have to deal with nasty and obnoxious people that normal average people wouldn't even bother with


JonnyWalkerBlack on Mar 25, 2009 at 00:52:46 said:

Let's draft 10-20 east oakland black young men, put them thru police academy, and let them patrol their own neighborhood; Don't be surprised after a month on the job, if these young officers stop a fellow young black man at traffic stop, they would shoot first and ask questions later;
it's mind-bogling how ignorant people are; the nastiness and ugliness that police officers have to deal with every day; they have to deal with nasty and obnoxious people that normal average people wouldn't even bother with


marlene king on Mar 24, 2009 at 23:53:48 said:

Some of these comments are from stupid Blacks. Black on Black crime does not excuse cops from killing more Blacks. White on White crime exists. White men is always killing and burrying their pregnant White women, so does that mean that the cops should shoot them. Why are all the mistakes made on Black male youth?
Blacks stop your foolishness. Black on Black crime is no excuse for those paid by taxpayers to go on daily duck hunts on underpriviledged Black youth. AS A PEOPLE WE HAVE BECOME MORE ENEMY TO OUR OWN SELF-WORTH, AS WE SANCTION OTHERS TO KILL US BECAUSE OF OUR INTERNAL DESTRUCTION. LOVELLE DID WHAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. AND HE WAS DAMNED GOOD AT IT. SO BLACK MALES GET A CLUE, BECAUSE HE NEVER KILLED NONE OF YOU!


Vina on Mar 24, 2009 at 22:12:14 said:

Kevin Weston: Wow. Drawing the connection between people who actually fought for justice to a guy who allegedly raped at least 1 and as many as 5 young girls in his community AND murdered 4 cops in cold blood.

Why the hell did New American Media you?


Chaim Eliyah on Mar 24, 2009 at 21:46:56 said:

This article is a great example of journalism -- ethnic or otherwise -- being thrown to the hogs. It is reactionary and it makes a lot of assumptions without anything other than the author's opinion of what happened to back it up. Don't get me wrong: I personally am of the opinion that there has been a war going on for decades between Black communities and the police. But it helps to cite some sources every once in a while on the disparities that exist if you don't want to end up with fascist, white-supremacist comments like "Mr. Whiter's." A few hours of research would go a long way towards leaving those who want to blame it all on the individual and "bad choices" wondering why they hadn't heard some of this before. Instead you've presented us with hearsay, and the jury's out. As you've said, we don't know that Mixon is any kind of hero. Why the comparison with Nat Turner's revolution? That just serves to turn both sides against the middle.

Look. Part of the problem that exists is that people have been told for a long time that they are poor, that their culture has been taken away, that they have no education, no credit, should have known better, shouldn't participate in alternative economies even though they are excluded from the economy of the dominant society by institutional racism (or by classism, sexism, etc.), that they are on parole, in other words, that their lives are "worth almost nothing to anyone." As soon as you repeat that without checking it with some facts, to me you sound like a spokesperson for the officers that are angry, because you're basically telling them that they are expected to take it out on the community, that there's just alternative; "that's just the way it is." It provides justification for retaliation. I think that if you were a bit more demanding of yourself when writing an article, you could cite ten sources that clearly outline the situation of racial oppression, and what's more, you could demand for attention to be brought to that fact before any reactionary motions are taken by the police. You could tell people that they are worth more than the conditions in which they find themselves in would indicate. You could advocate for their human rights.

Sincerely,

Chaim Eliyah
The University of Washington


Brian everett on Mar 24, 2009 at 18:11:00 said:

This incident is just the tip of the iceberg. As the financial calamity that is capitalism collapses around us and are leaders ignore the plight of the working class to prop up the capitalist class more rage and violence will occur.media will continue to make lovelle into a monster and people will believe that their own self preservation requires that they believe this is an isolated incident and therfore he must be a monster. But make no mistake people this is not a isolated incident.


Formeesha onedumbfuk on Mar 24, 2009 at 01:09:14 said:

the bigger the gun the smaller the dick! Lets count how many blacks have killed each other so far this year in oakland? Oh sorry, you can't count that high. I forgot. You don't need to go to school. Let play, how many ways can we blame someone else? Lets erase the posts you don't agree with. That's not free speech. (another thing you would have learned in school, sorry).Mixon isn't even good for compost. He'd contaminate the dirt!


LaMari Gotsome on Mar 24, 2009 at 00:48:27 said:

Pump your brakes? You've got to be kidding. How many brothers have been killed by other brothers this year alone? Where is the outrage? That is too difficult for school dropouts to deal with. Blame it on someone else. Thats all you got to say. It's always someone else's fault. It's such an old excuse, it's starting to rot. It smells. A real man takes responsibility for his actions.


Mr Whiter on Mar 23, 2009 at 23:30:16 said:

You guys are all crazy. No wonder the world is so screwed up. wake the f up and quit your crying over people making bad choices. This is the bay area, not the deep south. This is the reverse racism capital of the world. Get over your rhetoric spewing bullshit. You bunch of worhtless, Godless haters. You believe you got all your problems figured out by blaming "the system". Wake the f up and quit devising excuses for being pathetic and lazy. go to church and get a job and start being part of the human race.


Smith on Mar 23, 2009 at 21:33:51 said:

I think that like alot of african Americans today they allow the media to inform them of what is going on in communities instead of walking through your streets and seeking the truth for self. while most of the above comments exuberate an educated opinion what is lacking from one and addressed by the author of this article is the comparisons. One question i have to ask if the author would not have quoted those revolutionaries would you have still read the article. don't shun him exercising his right to free speech everybody is entitled to give the opinion from there perspective. I am saddened at the turn of events but i am educated enough to get the real meaning behind what the author is trying to portraying which is one will never know what was happening if you refuse to step into the community or fearing to relate to them and their pain and what abuse they have suffered it takes a renegade in such sense to really shed light on the dark overlooked areas and that is what it was in this case. Mixon made a sacrafice for a greater cause and i believe that although that was not his intention to take lives that day he was fed up with no one outside of the community knowing what really goes on. i find it ironic when the media reports there always has to be a bad guy and a good guy not just two victims??? its sad that a heinous crime has to be committed for someone to even come into the community that is problematic and has been for some time. a loss of life is a loss of life how much do we pay attention to how it was taken. i shake my head each and everytime the media reports something cause they could care less how they are reporting its a competition on who reports it first. i do pray that this brings some REAL attention to the problem at hand our corrupt system that hides behind a shield and the slogan " TO PROTECT AND SERVE"


troy nkrumah on Mar 23, 2009 at 19:05:49 said:

Great article Kevin.. on point.. as i wrote on a few posts: In a capitalist/imperialist and any monetary system for that matter, the role of the cops is that of the Overseer. Therefor, every cop death, no matter how it occurs is a blessing to the revolutionary, and for the counter-revolutionary it is a sad occurrence. Events like this expose where one stands... and in the middle of a war, there is no time for sympathy, especially when your side is being slaughtered and carried off into prison camps. So you heard it from me before and you will here it again.. FUCK ALL POLICE!
Will this make anything better? Probably not. But I does show the other side that things are so bad that this is what it has come to and if there is not a different approach, things will only get worse. The families of the slain (all of them) should blame Oscar Grants killer, Katherine Johnsons killer, Sean Bells killers.. and all others who make us believe death is likely when we get pulled over.

Keep up these writings, don't the the blind, deaf and dumb deter your spirit of resistance. Freedom is the road seldom traveled by the Multitude. So as before, most slaves did not follow Turner, Brown or Vessey when they struck back, and those same type negros talk about these fighters 200 years later as though they honor them. Most people these days are caught up in Obamania still. They think we reached the mountain top, but if nothing else, Oscar Grant should have woke their blind asses up. Apparently it did not.
We have a long way to go.. RIP to all the soldiers who stand up to the pigs. And middle finger up to all those to side with the pigs, even in sympathy!
IN STRUGGLE COMRADE!


Dominic on Mar 23, 2009 at 17:48:53 said:

As a black person this article is one of the most insulting things I have seen in a long time. You are comparing a criminal who was on parole that killed some police officers to Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey. Every black criminal is not a freedom fighter. Maybe if this murderer would have got his education his life wouldn't have ended like it did. Police officers should be held accountable for their actions if they use excessive force but that doesn't excuse the behavior of this animal. According to his family Mixion was "scared of jail." Mixon's death while tragic was deserving. The irony about the situation is Mixon used his life to commit crimes against his own people instead of being a positive force and the same community he hurt is defending him. The problem is people like you justify killing police officers because the black community faces oppression and institutional racism. Blacks are committing genocide in their own communities and you didn't mention a word of that. What a surprise? Instead of telling young brothers to "pump their breaks" how about using your platform to tell them to get an education, stop committing crimes, take responsibility for their own lives and stop blaming other people for their problems. But I guess that would be too hard.


Christina on Mar 23, 2009 at 17:24:54 said:

\"I’m telling all the young brothers I know that stay in Oakland to pump their breaks – there are mad cops out there and your life is worth even less than it was 48 hours ago, when it was worth almost nothing to anyone.\"
Im really hoping young ones read to the end. This is a message to the living.


Anon on Mar 23, 2009 at 16:24:53 said:

The central tenet of this piece is ridiculous. To compare Mixon to Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner is an affront to people with any appreciation for the accomplishments of those valiant figures.

Since black people have been terrorized any should be entitled to kill whomever and whenever they want, provided the victim is part of the “powers that be”? The point that there is a problem with the way white police treat blacks and that there is a problem with urban violence that needs to be addressed is a valid one, but Weston does an enormous disservice to any struggle against that by arguing in this ridiculous manner. He is also unnecessarily alarmist. From his perspective, this shooting could not have come at a BETTER time. In the wake of the BART shooting, there will be no draconian crackdown (and he, shockingly, does not cite any actual evidence of one on the horizon). I cannot believe that any person with any sense of logic or actual knowledge of black history could equate the police shootings to an \"armed rebellions against the powers that be”. Will the black community accept just a modicum of personal responsibility? Maybe if it shed the cult of victimology, they could do something to improve their own communities rather than waiting for the white “powers that be”who, as much as the liberal quarter may pretend otherwise, will not really lift a finger to help? Improve your own community rather than just expecting that others should.There is no doubt that lingering and institutional inequality and racism still exist and should be addressed. But blaming only that provides an excuse to not be the change you want to see.

I would also direct him to read Ghandi. He beat a whole fucking empire without the tools of the modern media and without resorting to \"armed rebellion” or, in Mixon’s case, cold-blooded murder.

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