Archive for the ‘Copwatch’ Category

On September 27th, several of us went to the Manchester court building to support Jeremy at his preliminary hearing for the charges filed against him by the VCU Police. For those of you who might not know, Jeremy was arrested on charges of slashing 7 VCU car tires, worth $1,330.00, making the charge a felony destruction of property. Jeremy and his public defender, at the hearing, were allowed to see some of the evidence that VCU has against him, and surprise surprise, without having any physical evidence (besides a few pictures of Jeremy AFTER he had been arrested and the picture of a tool confiscated after his arrest), the judge ruled that the case would be continued in a Grand Jury hearing on November 7. The Commonwealths’ attorney, Christopher Toepp, is the same friend of the police who tried to convict those arrested in the Monroe Park Occupation at the beginning of the year, as well as the Defenders in the African Burial Ground protest. He lost both of those cases,  but Jeremy was also told that he specifically requested this trial because “he wants to see it done right” and that he is looking for a felony conviction and jail time for Jeremy.

Jeremy will be sticking with his public defender for the time being, and has been fundraising for the last month or so to raise money for another attorney. Unfortunately, lawyers are unrightfully expensive, and the person he has in mind to represent him requires a $2,500 retainer fee to even start working on the case. Any help would be greatly appreciated, whether it be financial, advice, a friendly word, or  helping to put on a fundraising event to benefit his legal fund.  Also Jeremy has requested that as many people who can attend further trial dates as supporters is essential and appreciated, the more eyes and ears during this ordeal the better.  There has been no word yet as to whether or not Jeremy will be able to attend the Nov. 7 date, as it is usually private to the judge and attorneys involved.

Anyone who wishes to donate can do so using our handy PayPal button on the website, and be sure to specify what you want the money to be used for.

Thanks everyone for your support so far and in the future!

To update on Jeremy’s predicament with the VCU Police:

After the arraignment on Tuesday morning (to which several people from the city showed up in solidarity), Jeremy was released on a $5000 noncommittal bond, and a court case was set for September 27th, at 11 AM. We encourage anyone and everyone who takes umbrage with not only VCU Police, but all police everywhere, to show up to this and any subsequent court cases Jeremy might have to endure. These charges are publicly about a few car tires, but privately there is a deeper trend of police oppression at work. We believe that this trend must be brought to light, and must be talked about openly among all communities in this city, not just those with an anarchist message.

Jeremy is currently exploring other avenues of legal help, and has a couple good leads, but unfortunately a good lawyer for a serious charge is almost never cheap. Jeremy has requested any form of support that interested or sympathetic parties might be willing to donate, be it spreading the word about the case in your home town, sending a kind word or relavent literature to the Wingnut, and of course monetary donations towards legal fees would be greatly appreciated as well (we have a convenient Paypal button on the website… if you tell us exactly where you want your donation to be used, we will make sure it is allocated accordingly.)

After a long and relatively uneventful night of doing Copwatch for first fridays on Broad Street, S and I were ready to make the trek back to the Wingnut to review the footage acquired over the course of the night. It had been an evening of very large groups of very bored pigs, standing in groups of up to ten up and down Broad St., most likely very upset that there were no younger folks of color to push around to pass the time on a Friday night. After a humorous impromptu interview with the 4th precinct commander, Mike Strawder, S and I had made it back to our bikes, parked in front of the New York Pizza restaurant. S had unlocked his bike, and as I bent to unlock my bike, I felt handcuffs close over my left wrist as another pair of hands closed around my right arm. I looked up, and there were at least 15 VCU and Richmond police officers surrounding S and I, and I was promptly told that I was under arrest and that I had a felony warrant out on my head, though they were not, at that moment, very forthcoming about what I the warrant was for. S jumped to his feet and immediately had his camera trained on the officers and myself, and watched as they moved me to an alley “where  no one could see me”. My pockets were searched, my knife confiscated, and my bag taken from me as two undercover agents kept their video cameras trained on me throughout the ordeal.

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A Richmond Police Department patrol car just stopped in front of the Wingnut at 7:44pm, in the middle of the street. Their plate number was 157 002L. They had their window rolled down and were just staring at the house. When someone inside noticed, they waved. When Wingnuts went outside to get their badge numbers, they noticed that the officer in the passenger side was taking pictures of his own. One Wingnut held the video camera while another asked for their badge numbers. One of the Cops (the driver) gave his badge number, #1219 Officer Dickerson. The cop in the passenger side said he did not have a badge number. When he was asked if he was refusing to give his badge number he reiterated that he did not have a badge number. He gave his name as officer Godwin. He was wearing a RPD uniform.

There is no form on the RPD website to fill out a complaint. We called the department and found out that ALL Richmond Police Officers have badge numbers, which would suggest that Officer Godwin was breaking the law by refusing to give his. We are waiting for a return call from a supervisor, so we can make our complaint about this incident.

We will post the video footage when we have it uploaded.

Richmond Copwatch will be having its first official meeting on Tuesday, August 24th at 7 pm at the Wingnut.  We will be discussing goals, strategy, copwatch protocol, and organizational structure for a city-wide Copwatch network.

Anyone with an interest in monitoring the police and holding them accountable for their actions is welcome to come.  Bring yourself, your friends, and lots of ideas!

For more information, call or email the Wingnut.  wingnut_collective@yahoo.com  (804) 303-5449

The Wingnut Anarchist Collective is currently looking for more roommates and collective members.
You can find our more about the collective on the blog at http://www.thewingnutrva.wordpress.com/

PLease send your questions/comments/proposals to wingnut_collective@yahoo.com

If you know someone who might be interested please feel free to pass the info onto them.

Here are some things we are looking for- we don’t expect any one person to fulfill any of these things, but you should at elast be interested in a lot of it. We are serious, we work hard, we have a lot of fun, and we get a lot done.

Future Wingnut could…

like dogs (3 live here)
sober or ok living in a sober house (won’t come home intoxicated, ever)
clean/orderly/willing to be neat and help clean the space
likes copwatch
not an apologist about cops
not a snitch
productive
has $200 a month for rent/utilities
has extra $ to put towards house projects
ok with cooking vegan for communal meals and respecting different diets and allergies (more…)

This is a video from the East Atlanta Copwatch group, whichs hows a good example of how Copwatch participants should respond when confronted by police during a Copwatch. It is also fairly amusing.  Particularly of note is the way the Copwatch members firmly refuse to engage in any sort of conversation/handshake/interaction with the Cop. They also refuse to give him their IDs or engage in a discussion about their ids until he tells them if they are being detained.

Copwatchers observed officers conducting a roadblock near Memorial and Howell St. Despite serious questions as to their constitutionality, the Atlanta Police Department has strongly promoted roadblocks as a law enforcement strategy. APD leadership claims roadblocks are not intended to catch criminal activity or profile people as suspects, just to make officers visible in the neighborhood and show a friendly face to the public.

In this video, Officer McKnight’s behavior gives conflicting signals about APD’s actual objectives in establishing roadblocks.

http://www.CopwatchOEA.org

Just so you’re aware, your presence in and around our community, especially outside of our home on a daily basis, has not gone unnoticed. I suppose some sort of thanks should be in order for the increased harassment that has come to our doorstep… it lets us know that Southern Barton Heights Copwatch is bringing in positive results. Besides, the more time that you spend sitting in front of our house, shining lights in our windows, and blasting us with your sirens, is less time that you’re spending doing the same to other members of our community. Whether or not your continued contact with us has to do with us being more proactive in our watching and recording of your officers, or is simply due to our increased visibility in the community, or even if it is because you have absolutely nothing better to be doing than (ineffectively) flexing your authoritative power at people who have done nothing against the law… we’ll go ahead and give you an update.

We will not be intimidated.
We will continue to be vigilant and relentless with our taping of officers in this and other neighborhoods.
We are not going anywhere. (more…)