New Year’s Resolution: Stop Oakland’s Policy of Police Containment

The Uhuru Solidarity Movement supports reparations for the Mixon family following the brutality claim by Lovelle Mixon’s younger sister Reynete Mixon.

On March 21st, 2009, the 16 year old Mixon was burned by a stun grenade and subjected to hours of subsequent mistreatment by police during the raid of the apartment on 74th Avenue in East Oakland.

Although there are mixed reports about the family’s pursuit of legal action, we support the demand for redress for the brutality committed by the Oakland SWAT team. The brutality faced by Reynete Mixon and the deaths of the four police officers and Lovelle Mixon on March 21, 2009 must be placed in the context of the long history that the Oakland police department has with the Oakland African working class community.

Events this year, including the brutal murder of Oscar Grant by former BART cop Johannes Mehserle on January 1, 2009, which took place in Oakland, have brought the tense situation to a head. The state has moved the trial of Mehserle out of Oakland in an attempt to deny the community impacted by this murder access to the hearings. In addition, BART plans to deploy all of their 200 police on the New Year’s eve anniversary of Grant’s murder, militarizing public transportation through the African community.

Following the murder of Oscar Grant and the ensuing public outcry about police brutality in general, two Oakland police sergeants and nine officers were fired for lying to obtain search warrants to raid the homes of East Oakland residents.

Also in January, internal affairs chief Edward Poulson was suspended by the department due to the FBI investigation into his responsibility for the beating death of East Oakland resident Jerry Amaro in 2000. Both incidents forced the resignation of the police chief Wayne Tucker.

In 2008, Oakland police killed eleven people, including 20 year old Andrew Moppin. Moppin was killed by officer Pat Gonzales who was responsible for the killing of 20 year old Gary King Jr. in September of 2007 and the maiming of then 17 year old Ameir Rollins in 2006now a quadriplegic.

In March of 2008, 70 year old Casper Banjo, a renowned Black Arts artist who suffered from epilepsy was shot by police in front of his Eastmont apartment. Five days later, OPD killed Jose Luis Buenrostro-Gonzalez, a 15 year old high school student, right near his home. Jose Luis was wearing his pajamas where police claimed he was hiding a sawed off shot gun. In July 2008, Oakland police shot and killed 27 year old Jody “Mack” Woodfox, who was unarmed and was running away from police.

This year, Oakland police killed Parnell Smith on July 18th on the streets of East Oakland in a case of “mistaken identity” when they were looking for another African man who walked with a cane. They killed handyman Brownie Polk on August 1st at a liquor store while he was walking away from the police.

In September, the 74th Avenue apartment where two Oakland officers and Mixon were killed was once again raided. The police tear gassed and abused residents.

Reports that the Oakland SWAT team did not follow proper procedures during the March raid of the apartment building have forced the SWAT team commanding officer on the scene, David Kozicki, to retire prior to the release of the investigative report. Kozicki, at 51 years old, guaranteeing that he will collect a pension of nearly $187, 351 per year, his current salary.

Just recently, on December 3rd, 18 year old Kenneth Ross was shot multiple times in the back while running away from Oakland police officers at an East Oakland apartment. Ross’ mother waited on the scene for five hours while the new police chief Anthony Batts conferred with city officials and the media. Batts offered no condolences or apologies to Ross’ mother; instead he characterized her son as a “gang member.”

The Uhuru Movement contends that the murder and brutality conducted by the Oakland Police Department, BART police and other police agencies is not an aberration, due to racist individuals or flawed department policies. We believe that brutality and murder by the Oakland Police are part of the policy of police containment, military occupation and colonial terror waged against the African and other oppressed communities aimed at preventing resistance to poverty and oppression.

Anthony Batts was brought in the fall as the new police chief to heighten these containment policies of the African community. He has stated in a recent article that “the department’s new mantra will be fighting “drugs, guns, and gangs,” resurrecting the code words of past decades for the war on the black community.

These policies exist in a city where one in five families live below on less than $15,000 per year and where the city spends nearly half of its budget on police and only a fraction on economic development. The city of Oakland was the center of resistance to police containment during the 1960s, when the Black Panther Party for Self Defense built campaigns to challenge police violence and built self-reliance programs for the African community. The movement of African people during the ‘60s was militarily defeated by the U.S. government’s counterinsurgency programs.

We are calling for unity with the Uhuru Movement’s demand for reparations, economic development and self-determination for the African community.

We express our unity with the families and communities in Oakland who’ve been victimized by police terror and murder, unjust imprisonment and criminalization by the city government, police and the media.

Change is happening in the world and those of us who want to be a part of it must be organized in solidarity with the just movement of African people to have self-determination, economic development and access to the resources of Africa, the birthright of African people everywhere.

Come to the African People’s Solidarity Committee Annual National Conference on January 10-12th, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

  • Keynote by Uhuru Movement leader Omali Yeshitela – A New Day: Beyond Protest to a Genuine Anti-Imperialist Movement -Struggling for Power
  • Presentations by African People’s Socialist Party leaders Gaida Kambon and Ironiff Ifoma
  • African People’s Solidarity Committee Chairwoman Penny Hess speaks on solidarity with national liberation struggles.

Come out to the local meeting of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement to build a movement in Oakland of solidarity with the African community struggle here and abroad – African Resources in African Hands!

Tuesday, January 5th, 7 to 9pm at the Niebyl Proctor Marxist Library at 6501 Telegraph Ave in Oakland.

Contact Oakland@uhurusolidarity.org or 510-625-1106 for more info.

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