Lovelle Mixon is NOT a Hero
On the day of his funeral, cop killer Lovelle Mixon is being regarded by some black Bay Area residents as if he is a hero. Says a San Francisco Bayview editor:
Lovelle Mixon’s family needs all the support we can give them. The funeral is tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31, 11 a.m., at Fuller Funerals, 4647 International Blvd, Oakland.
And hear the Block Report interview with his family broadcast Monday on Flashpoints at KPFA.org or Flashpoints.net. Listen to Lovelle’s mother, Athena, his wife, Amara, and her sister, Alicia, talk about who Lovelle really was and how much he is loved and missed. The interview starts 45 minutes into the show.
I do feel for his family, but not in order to valorize him. Increasingly, since his weekend blaze-of-glory death, unemployed ex-con Lovelle Mixon, killer of four Oakland policemen, is being seen as less Stagger Lee, the brother who shot a man over the return of his hat, than Eldridge Cleaver, the former Panther who once advocated rape as a revolutionary act and later as a teaching guide to meet and to “get to know” women.
I haven’t been in the Bay Area for nearly ten years; you could say I am on my way back home. I check on news about my home every other week (I was born in New Orleans, but was raised, went to college, and lived in S. F. Bay Area since 1961), and each week if there is something going on. The senseless killing of four Oakland policemen at Mixon’s hands, some or all of whom were members of the SWAT team who supposedly are not that easy to kill, is one of those things going on, as well as the execution-style shooting by a BART cop, caught on cellphone cameras, of Oscar Grant III at the New Year.
I’ve read where folks, particularly youth, have connected the Grant killing with Mixon’s death, and his vow not to go back to jail and possibly, to take as many cops down with him on his way to rather dubious glory. It’s seen by some as a kind of revenge for a glaring injustice, because former BART officer Johannes Mehserle is still walking around free (and getting secret help and support) with his wife and new baby when many (myself included) feel he should be in jail pondering his own fate with a first-degree murder charge for blowing away the father of a four-year-old daughter. The truth is, Mixon may not have been thinking about Oscar Grant at all when he went on his rampage.
Since New Year’s, there seems to have been some undeclared open season on mostly innocent black men and youth by law enforcement nationwide, from Oscar Grant up to and including the detaining at gunpoint of NFL running back Ryan Moats and his family, caught on police cameras. However, this open season has been going on decades in the black community. Particularly in the case of parolee Mixon, former inmate Gary Ryan in New America Media asked whether Mixon got any respect and understanding from the justice system, when it is set up to make petty criminals into world-class thugs:
How hard can it be to understand that most convicts have this sensitivity for respect and that it carries on, even after parole? It’s tough enough trying to make it on parole without having a parole officer that doesn’t like your attitude. Would it kill them to have a little understanding? What is it with the need to subjugate those you’re in charge of? It would make a tremendous difference in the life of a parolee to have someone to confide in, someone who cares if you make it, who will go to bat for you when you need help. This would have to be someone who knows what you’re dealing with, because in order to be heard by those who suffer, you must speak their language.
I hear what Ryan is trying to say, but frankly, I think he had the right idea but at the wrong time and with the wrong guy. Folks want heroes badly–sometimes too badly I feel–in a community where justice and honor is widely seen as nonexistent, and as mere platitudes. Here again, I fault the authorities for this, from Jerry Brown to the BART police chief for PR and administrative foot-dragging and up outright sympathy for the perpetrating officer. The meme on the street is that Mixon was a misguided parolee pushed around by his hard-case parole officer and the Oakland Police Department, perhaps too ready to go up in flames like Jimmy Cagney. Dozens of people joined a recent demonstration for Mixon that was picked up by both local and national news organizations. This is a fatal rush to judgment about the merits–if you can say that–of this young man, because the Oakland police that previous Friday had just completed a DNA analysis had linked Mixon to the unsolved rape of a 12-year-old girl and possibly that of five other women. That’s why the cops and the parole officer were after him. Said the March 25 San Francisco Chronicle (doing the usual housecleaning that media does to justify police actions in highly publicized matters like this, and I believe, rather egregiously in the Grant case):
All the victims of those rapes were attacked in the early-morning hours, as was the girl who was raped Feb. 5, and the assailant’s behavior was similar in all the assaults, police said.
Lt. Kevin Wiley, who oversees the sexual assault unit, said Tuesday that the girl had been walking in the 2600 block of 74th when she was grabbed and dragged off the street at gunpoint to a secluded area between homes and sexually assaulted. The attacker then let her go, and she told her parents what happened, police said.
Given the nature of the attack on a 12-year-old, police asked the state Justice Department laboratory in Richmond to rush tests of a DNA sample from the rape to compare it with a database of the state’s inmates.
Police would not go into detail about the other rapes. But they said that at least one happened this month and that another woman was dragged off the street and raped in the neighborhood in January.
The victim in that rape told police that the attacker “came up behind her. She was savagely raped and sodomized,” said Sgt. Jill Encinas of the police special victims unit.
Most victims did not get a look at the attacker, but the 12-year-old girl did, Encinas said.
Moral authority matters. IT MATTERS! You can’t move forward the cause of justice and equal rights standing on [...] pools of blood. You can’t turn a violent rapist and killer into a hero. Mixon didn’t stand over the wounded bodies of police officers and pump more shells into their bodies to help Black folks in Oakland. Mixon preyed on Black people in Oakland. He was a predator. He died the way he lived. Selfishly. Maniacally, [l]ike the narcissist that he appears to be. Whatever he wanted, he took. Who ever he could get away with brutalizing, he brutalized. His goal in life was not freedom fighting, but to steal, to kill and to destroy. That’s not [h]eroic, that’s evil.
No lie. And yet this strong, preaching-to-the-kids language may go too far, in some instances, because Lovelle Mixon had once been a human being, and a man.
It used to be that blacks were proud to have the rich, the middle-class and the poor cheek-by-jowl in their segregated neighborhoods because it showed a wide range of classes and values. Now that segregation is gone, however, the poor and lower-middle class left behind have to deal with the criminally-minded in their midst. Who’d really want a rapist or a carjacker or a drug dealer living next to them, or worse, in their house or apartment building? All law-abiding blacks have ever wanted is for the police to know the difference between them and law-breakers, not lump them all together. Or for the police not to use their personal antagonism about blacks as an additional weapon of the law. Oscar Grant’s murder is not equal to that of Lovelle Mixon’s shooting. The murder of Oscar Grant III also doesn’t make this wrong by Lovelle Mixon right.