Richmond Copwatch and the FOIA’d RPD Documents

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Richmond Copwatch is the organization which requested through the Virginia Freedom of Information Act the documents which the Richmond Police Department is now taking Mo Karn to court over. The only reason Mo Karn is the defendant in the case is because an individual with a physical address has to make a FOIA request. Mo Karn, a member of Richmond Copwatch, happened to be the one to make the request.

Richmond Copwatch requested the police manuals and protocols from the Richmond Police Department in order to find out what the police are supposed to be doing so that we can hold the police accountable when they violate their own rules. We paid $89.25 for the information which was legally received through the Virginia FOIA. We made it available online so that others could use it without having to go through the FOIA process and fees.

So what is Richmond Copwatch then?

Richmond Copwatch is a non-hierarchical organization 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.


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” traingings, 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 Copwatch groups in areas where they do not currently exist, and provide networking information for neighborhoods that do already have copwatch groups.

Richmond Copwatch is always looking for support- everything from donation of money, cameras, recording devices, etc. to contact with pro-bono lawyers, advice from legal experts, etc. to help with creating a website, fliers, logos, and graphics.

If you would like to have Richmond Copwatch come do a Know Your Rights training for your group or organization please contact us at

If you would like to become involved with Richmond Copwatch there are monthly organizational meetings on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7pm at the Wingnut Anarchist Collective at 2005 Barton Avenue. Call 804 303 5449 for more information or check the rvaradicalendar at


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