Operation Small Axe

Nov 3, 2010 by

Operation Small Axe

Editorial Note:

This video trailer for the film Operation Small Axe is a follow-up to the article last week from Adimu Madyun. Adimu has followed events in Oakland for years and has created this documentary film to bring a picture of apparently ingrained police racism and rising community resistance to the idea of continuing victimhood.

The Oakland, California Police Department has been accused of racism for years. In a 2004 study, The RAND corporation found clear evidence of racial profiling in how Oakland Police stopped drivers for traffic infractions and even clearer racial discrimination in weapons pat-downs and vehicle searches.

This apparently didn’t change the tactics of the Oakland Police. Over the years, Oakland has become notorious for both its crime rate and the anger of its citizenry over discriminatory practices at the hands of the police force.

As New Years Day 2009 crept in, Transit Department Police Officer Johannes Mehserle, responding to a call at a crowded transit station, shot Oscar Grant, an African American, in the back while he was prostrate on his stomach on the transit platform. The killing was captured by several onlookers who recorded the police violence on their cell-phone video cameras. Oscar Grant became an immediate rallying point for angry Oakland citizens who feel that the Oakland Police Department has abused Oakland residents unchecked for years.

Mehserle was found guilty on July 8th of 2010 after a mere 6 1/2 hours of deliberations by a jury that included no African Americans. He was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. His defense had been that he had confused his gun for his taser weapon. Sentencing is scheduled for November 5, 2010.

Film Description:

“Operation Small Axe” takes a raw and unflinching look at life under police terrorism in Oakland. Through the stories of Oscar Grant, Lovelle Mixon and POCC (Prisoner of Conscience Committee) Minister of information JR Valrey, the film focuses on the occupation of Oakland’s communities of color by militarized and racist police forces. Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle on January 1st of this year. On March 21st, Lovelle Mixon was killed by Oakland police after having allegedly shot five OPD officers, killing four.

Directed and produced by Adimu Madyun for 393films.com

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