The Southern Barton Heights branch of the Richmond Copwatch Federation  will be facilitating a workshop at the Richmond Zine Fest this Saturday (October 16th) at 12 noon on Copwatch as an idea.

The Richmond Zine Fest is at the Gay Community Center of Richmond attached to DIversity Thrift on Sherwood Avenue. It will be from 11-5 on Saturday October 16th. http://www.richmondzinefest.org

Richmond has not had (to our knowledge) an official copwatch group before.

The workshop will allow a space for questions, explanations, creativity, and discussion about what copwatch is and what copwatch could be.

Anyone interested in the idea of copwatch is welcome to come, we would be specifically excited to find people who want to start a branch of copwatch in their own neighborhood in Richmond.

Copwatch Mission Statement:

Richmond Copwatch is a non-heirarchical network of groups dedicated to ending police abuse.  We believe that monitoring and recording police interactions with community members is a vital first step towards ensuring accountability and protecting ourselves and our communities. We are committed to anti-authoritarian principles and seek to transform the nature of the police and explore alternative methods of community conflict resolution.

Richmond Copwatch’s Goals:

1) Reduce police violence by directly observing the police on the street, documenting incidents and keeping police accountable. We provide support to victims whenever possible. We also seek to educate the public about their rights, police conduct in the community and issues related to the role of police in our society.

2) Empower and unite the community to resist police abuse. We will do this by sharing information with the community, conducting “Know Your Rights” trainings, sponsoring rallies, supporting victims and other community based efforts to deal with the problem.

3) Encourage people to solve problems WITHOUT police intervention. We want to explore alternatives to calling the police.

4) Encourage people to exercise their right to observe the police and to advocate for one another.

5) Provide assistance in the formation of neighborhood cop watch groups in areas where they do not currently exist, and provide networking information for neighborhoods that do already have cop watch groups.

For more information, you can contact Richmond Copwatch by email at rvacopwatch@gmail.com or by phone at (804) 303-5449.

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