By Shaun King
At 1 AM this past Saturday, Meagan Hockaday, a 26-year-old African-American mother of three, was shot and killed by an Oxnard, California, police officer after he arrived at her home to check out a reported domestic dispute. A knife was found near Hockaday's body, but it's unclear why lethal force was used on a mother with her children present in her own home.
The shooting death of Hockaday must, though, be viewed in context with the sordid history of the Oxnard, California, police department. Less than a year ago, the city of Oxnard was forced to pay a record $6.7 million to the family of Alfonso Limon, an innocent man who was shot 16 to 21 times by Oxnard police as he was walking home from a high school gym. They claimed to mistakenly believe him to be a suspect in another crime. He wasn't. He was completely unarmed and just a few dozen feet away from his front door.
As far back as 2001, the Los Angeles Times detailed how police in Oxnard, a city with just 170,000 people, had killed more people that year than cities 22 times its size. During that year, a concerned mother called 911 because she was afraid her depressed son, Robert Jones, would harm himself. Jones was cowering in a closet when police shot and killed him, and the city later paid the family $1.5 million for the "mistake."
Now, a former Oxnard police officer is blowing the whistle on a sick practice of officers in the department proudly "earning" tattoos every time they shoot and kill people while on duty:
The former Oxnard police officer who recently left the department said he saw the tattoos on the officers. He made a drawing of what the “shooting” tattoo looks like. He said the tattoos were probably purchased from a tattoo shop in Port Hueneme because that is where Oxnard officers go to get tattooed.
The former Oxnard police officer also provided the names of seven Oxnard officers and two retired officers who allegedly had the tattoos. The nine names also included two officers who are currently commanders at the Oxnard Police Department. One is a watch commander.
The former Oxnard officer told American Justice that if smoke is added to the tattoo, coming out of the barrel, then the shooting was fatal. He said the tattoos are “earned” by officers involved in shootings.
This behavior is deeply disturbing and is evidence of the reality that police see shooting and killing people as a source of pride instead of shame. Are they going to get tattoos for shooting and killing Hockaday? Did the officers who unjustly shot and killed Alfonso Limon get tattoos for that as well? This is sick.
Watch the recent news report and see the awful video of the police murder of Alfonso Limon.