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Aftermath: How Bay Area Young People Think Their Lives Will Be Affected by Oakland Police Killings

Commentaries, Various Authors
YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, Mar 24, 2009

Editor's Note: YO! asked young people how they think the shooting death of four police officers by 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon will affect their own lives.

The Whole City is Gonna Suffer
Well, what happened with the four police officers in Oakland getting killed is terrible, but itís also just life Ė stuff happens. I think the police are really going to be cracking down on youth, not just in Oakland Ė itís gonna happen all over. I think that thereís going to be a lot more arrests, and maybe more death, it depends on the people. Even if you just look like youíre gangbanging or you just look like youíre in the street, you are going to be harassed by the police. The police are going to try and make an example of anyone else in the street life.

The other thing is that the police might be kind of nervous, and when they pull people over, I think that any move the person makes can cost them their life. I think the whole city is going to get cracked down on just because of one-personís stupidity. Police are going to be very jumpy while they are on duty because they could be thinking that their life could be next. So, some people going to be off the streets, and for the people that just donít give a fók Ė they are going to give them a hard time and more bloodís gonna shed, thatís just what I think.

The police that got killed Ė their partners is going to take it hard, because they probably was with their partner for a long period of time. So thatís going to be going through their head while theyíre on duty. Like I said, the whole city is going to suffer for this one-personís mistake.

This whole thing is not going to affect me because I donít be in the streets like that. But in a situation with me and the police, I will be kind of scared. If I get pulled over, the police wonít know that Iím not in the streets just by the way I look Ė especially with my gold ones and clothes Ė they gonna think that Iím a gangster when Iím not even close to that. So, in that situation I will be very nervous and uncomfortable .

- Ricky Rollins, 17

The Future of Oakland
The shooting of some of the cops on Saturday took place on the 74th block of East Oakland, CA Ė a block up from my house. The whole scene was very tragic. There were a lot of people feeling for the fallen officers, however some people felt as though their sympathy should be given to Mr. Mixon. Me on the other hand, I was on both sides. I feel no one should be killed, but the brutality of my cityís police is very pointless and should be punished.

I think even though Mr. Mixon could be seen in some eyes as a criminal, I see him as a rebel of greatness. Itís about time someone stood up and stop letting these cops think they can just run over our people of color. This weekend caused a lot of positive minds to wreak havok.

After this happened, everyone was telling me not to go to Eastmont because I would encounter angry police officers who would probably just bother me because of how I look. I think this is the actual future of Oaklandís society due to this recent killing. I think they will begin to target more people of color, and when pulled over in the future, youíre bound to get a gun in you your face.

- Justin Merchant, 16

Police Need to Realize They Are Not Supermen
On March 22nd, five police got shot and three died. Personally, I think this was a good thing because the police always think theyíre tough cause they got a gun. Another reason I think this was a good thing is because the police need to no how it feels to lose some one they care for. Iím originally from Hunterís Point in San Francisco, but now I live in Oakland, and it seems like everywhere I go there are punk ass cops trying to be superman. The thing is Ė theyíre not made of steel.

I feel two things are going to happen. One is that the police that are scared are going to be even more scared Ė and when youíre dealing with a scared cop, they tend to do all the unnecessary stuff. The second thing thatís going to happen is that there are going to be more assholes on the job. I think Lovelle Mixon just made it harder for the black community because the cops already look at us like criminals, now they going look at us like killers. The police need to know that everybody who wears a hoody isnít a criminal.

I wouldnít be surprised if the cops kill somebody in reaction for what happened. Some police donít know how to deal with people, so they come off as an asshole. If the police had better people skills there wouldnít be so much hate towards the police. Maybe Lovelle had some bad experience with the cops, and that probably motivated him to shot at them.

Everybody can learn from this incident. For example, the police should learn that it isnít okay for them to abuse their powers and because eventually somebody might snap and MURDER THEM!!! And for the people who think its okay to shoot at the police, know that if you do, they will be on you like a lion on a zebra so you better have a back-up plan or a get away driver. For myself, I learned that bad stuff happens to everybody.

- David Cunningham, 18

Now, Iím Watching Out for Police
Personally, Iím not changing anything I used to do before the killings. I feel like that this whole situation was just four more murders added to the others murders of 2009 in Oakland. The only difference is that it was finally some cops.

Iíve lost a lot of n-----s in these Oakland streets, not to mention that one of my patnas got killed by the Oakland police Ė but do the city or any other city care about that? Leave it up to them, they was just doing they job.

Now after all that happened, Iíve been really watching out for the police. To the police, Iím a target because I am on felony probation and I live in a real violent section in East Oakland. As a matter of fact, the cop killings that took place last Saturday happened right around the corner from my house. So every time I see them, Iím afraid they gonna bounce out on me and take me in just because, or kill me if I decided to run from them.

- Damarius Brown, Age 18

Donít Lynch the Community
Speaking from my own mind state, I see the fatal police shooting as a horrible situation and my heart goes out to the family of those officers and the alleged shooter. Peopleís lives were lost, not only were the officers killed but the suspect as well, who was relatively young.

I understand the Oakland Police Department will be very upset and fellow officers as well, but they must understand that the community was unaware of the situation and shouldn't be harmed. What I mean by this is that Oakland PD shouldn't look for a way to retaliate or lynch the community because of their hurt and anger. I think that police officers in Oakland will be on high alert and may potentially take out their frustration on the male black youth and it will result into a crisis situation.

This affected me as well, because my mom was suddenly warning me about going outside and the danger of living here in Oakland. Now, I look at the city differently, like whereís the protection?

- Sean Shavers, 17

Young People Need to Stop Doing Dumb Things
I think now in Oakland, cops are going to act different when they see young black men. They will probably have more cops on the street just to be careful, and these cops will probably be more aggressive than before. Honestly, if a cop approaches me like he is going to arrest me, I will run the other way because I donít want to go to jail because I donít want my family to worry about me. Sometimes I think cops pull people over because they donít have nothing better to do.

But I think if young people want cops to stop acting bad, they need to stop doing dumb things like stealing candy at the store and fighting for no reason, when you can talk it out like adults. They should go to school and get their diploma instead of dropping out.

- Quamaine Wallace, 17

Black Men Are Self-Destructing
Well, my concerns for this drama that just happen over the weekend in Oakland, you know five cops getting shot by a black man, who then lost his life. I mean what else is there to say besides the law will be cracking down harder, meaning low-tolerance, more lockups, and more angry black folks. Just hearing this s--t drives you crazy. What I can I do? What I can say? Black dude feels like his life has just hit a climax, he reacts, then boom! I can say I believe a lot has to do with [the shooterís] prior crime weighing on his while he was detained.

But weíve seen this situation before, like how Phillyís murder rate was a record high for like the fifth time or more Ė being 406 Ė in 2006. So, the city hired an extra taskforce to calm the cited blazing heat, and this was intense for the people. And then there was this guy by the name of Bryan Nickels down in Atlanta, he was on trial in 2005 for rape, but about to be acquitted. He reacted in the same manner and Mixon, but in his case, he killed the judge.

Me myself, I sometimes feel like these men in life, like I wanna self-destruct, but I canít. In their cases, I donít know, maybe they felt like their lives were ending, so they ended it themselves by ending other peopleís lives.

- Mike Wright, 22

Police Killings Could Make Community Better
I really don't know what really went down that day in Oakland. I know dude had a warrant and a loaded gun and five policemen got shot, and four were killed. I think this situation could go either way. It could improve the Oakland society or it could make it worse than what it is already. I mean itís like a rule of the streets: You come at us and we come back harder. You see police kill innocent people and they get away with it, like the BART police that killed a guy (accidentally) and got away with it.

This experience could make things better. This could improve the way youth see things. It could open their eyes to see what their community has been going through. They can see that itís getting worse and its only going to get even worse, if they don't put a stop to the violence. Or this could be a bad thing, because now the police are going to enforce the law harder and they are not going to take no bullshit from anybody. Just like we don't like police for killing out peers, they are going to hate the youth or anybody that looks like they are doing no good, because theyíll think of the dude that shot their friends.

This news really don't affect the way I see things or go about my day-to-day. I see this kind of thing a lot. It seems pretty regular in the Bay Area and I don't think they are going to do anything about.

- Cathy Artiga, 17

Black People Are Moving Out of Oakland
For me, what happened this weekend with the police killings Ė itís going to change a lot of things because my family is from Oakland and cops in Oakland already put a lot of black people in jail for no reason. There might be a lot of black people who will move out of the city of Oakland because of all the killing going on. This is happening already.

My life is going to change because I donít wont anything to do with the police. My family have a lot of history with the police, and I donít wont anything to happen to them. I have a five-month-old son and, as he grow up, he is going to see all these thing happening in these streets and I donít want anything to happen to him. I hope the police put this situation behind them.

I live in Richmond and I am not going to go to Oakland from now on because I donít want to be in this same situation. When I see the police, I am going to get scared because of what happened.

- Deajene Willridge, 17

Bad Cops Ruin It for Good Ones
To tell the truth I donít think too much of it. I grew up not liking the cops and I truly donít know how to have feelings for them or their families when something happens to them. It may sound cold-hearted, but let me tell you why I say this.

I grew up running from them, being caught by them, and being wrongfully beaten and robbed by them. So I guess you can see why I say this about them. On the other hand, part of me feels that no one should die before their time and I think that nothing is that serious that four men trying to do their job had to die because of a man who couldnít man out time for whatever crime he did. Many people feel that this is just a portion of what cops deserve and some feel itís a tragedy. Me, I feel in the middle because I think itís messed up that the few decent cops that do their job of protection and service are overshadowed by the crooked ones. People donít care about who the good cop and the bad cop is. They just see them as all bad and that makes it non-negotiable from criminals and thugs to take them into consideration when they choose to show no regards towards them. What if these cops that were killed were decent cops and decent men? Well, this gets nullified when their companions are recklessly beating our little cousins or brothers or loved ones.

- Amanze Emenite, 19

We Need a Peace Convention
I was at home when I heard about the shooting in Oakland of the four officers by Lovelle Mixon. My sister had gotten a text from someone. Itís unreal to me. I do not think that I fully understand the significance of it or can really picture it happening in my head. I just moved to Oakland from a town of roughly 2,000 people and things like this just donít happen.

We were talking about the incident on our way back from a school outing yesterday. There were only four of us in the car and our teacher asked about what we had heard and thought of it. One of my classmates said that he had been hearing two different views and feelings about it from people. One of them was related it to Oscar Grant and how people think the police might deserve something like this because they kill innocent people themselves.

My other classmate in the car got really upset because he is very involved with police authorities. He is interning at a firehouse and knew one of the officers actually shot. He said that being an officer is such a risky, dangerous job and that he could not ever do it. He mentioned how all of those officers who were killed have families that will be affected greatly. ďBut didnít Oscar Grant no have a young daughter?Ē another classmate asked. The other replied that this was true, but that policemen risk their lives everyday and are in some of the worst situations. But then thereís the flipside where you have authorities abusing their power. The officers involved in the shooting Saturday were not the ones involved in the Oscar Grant shooting. I think that is what people have to consider the most. There are authorities that abuse their power, but not every officer does. In the same way, not every kid on the street is bad either. There needs to be something to fill that gap Ė we need to come together.

The worst part was the classmate leaving the car so upset. I think he needs to be able to see it from the other point of view and understand. So do the police, and the people on the streets.

- Aliza Pickering, 17

Related Media:

Oakland Community Braces For Worst After Police Killings

First Response: Oakland Young People React to Police Killings

Witness to a Shooting: Why I pulled out my camera to record the injustice of Oscar Grantís killing 1 of 1


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