Posts Tagged ‘4th precinct’

Richmond Copwatch is planning to continue its patrols of First Fridays in downtown Richmond in the month of October. Join us, meeting at the fountain in Monroe Park at 6pm on Friday October 7th. Bring cameras- video or still, cell phones, flashlights or headlamps, water and snacks if you have them. Please dress for the weather and with shoes you are comfortable walking around in for a couple of hours.

If you are able to, we recommend that you get in touch with Copwatch ahead of time for a Know Your Rights training and a brief How to Copwatch training. We will coordinate groups for that evening in the park, and also arrange for a group debriefing at the end of the night.

August was the first month we did an official patrol of the First Fridays event (after over a year of doing Copwatch in Richmond), and one Copwatcher had a tazer put in their face by a Richmond Cop. In September, a smaller patrol went out and was assaulted and harassed by the Richmond police, culminating in one member of Copwatch being arrested at the end of the night on bogus charges. We refuse to be intimidated by the illegal actions of the Richmond Police Department. The aggressive, illegal, and unprofessional behavior of the Richmond Police Department as a whole, simply goes to show the necessity of Copwatch, and the regular observing and recording of a police force as long as one exists. Beyond that the continued violent and oppressive behavior of many members of the Richmond Police Department goes to show the systemic nature of problems with police- problems that will be solved not through reform, but through abolition. As long as the police congregate on Broad Street to oppress and antagonize largely youth of color in order to maintain the gentrifying aspects of the First Fridays Artwalk, Copwatch will be there.

In October we will be doing patrols of this event, cameras in hand. If you are interested in joining us for the patrol, please get in touch, (more…)

I was at home on Friday night, not participating in Copwatch due to other conflicting activities. The phone rang, and on the other end was Copwatch Member D, who quickly related that another member of Copwatch, M, was being detained by the police. D said that the police were not allowing them to get anywhere near M, and that because all of the Copwatch cameras had been placed in M’s bag, the police had them all. I got the location, called to Copwatcher X, and jumped in the car to get to the scene as quickly as possible.

Upon arrival we met up with D, and walked to the street where M was being detained. I walked down the sidewalk on Monroe Street, off of Broad (headed South). Quickly, 2 members of Richmond Police Department informed me that if I was going to walk down the sidewalk I would be arrested. I asked what for, and they said Obstruction of Justice.

I got into an argument with them, explaining to them the definition of Obstruction of Justice in Virginia, and how my walking down a sidewalk to observe and record the police did not count. Then the cop informed me that he had specific orders not to let the three of us down that street. This whole time other people were walking down the street. I informed the cop that what he was engaging in was illegal, selective enforcement, and a violation of our right to observe and record as well as move freely. He kept repeating that he would arrest me if Iwalked down the public sidewalk. (more…)

I was present tonight around Jackson Ward with the intent to observe police activity in the area. Given the marked police aggression at prior months’ First Fridays events, and our observation of August’s in particular, we anticipated  more unwarranted aggressive conduct from the Richmond Police Department, despite this month’s event being officially canceled. I arrived with Y at roughly 6pm, and met up with Z. We organized our Know-Your-Rights literature to hand out to passers-by, got our cameras ready, and set out down the street.

The first thing we ran into was the RPD’s Mobile Command Center, which was parked on Broad Street and then moved behind the Hess Station at Broad and Belvidere, along with a few police vans. We then came to observe roughly 50+ officers posted in the area, mostly in groups of 3-10, standing at intersections and bus stops waiting around. They were all suited up with bulletproof vests, some with tactical/crowd control gear. There were also several squad cars on the street, their respective officers engaged with the task of towing cars not compliant with the temporary parking restrictions imposed for the night. These restrictions had also been imposed at August’s First Fridays event, and everyone present witnessed the entirety of Broad Street cleared between Belvidere and Adams St. Again, tonight we saw at least four tow trucks diligently moving vehicles.  (more…)

Richmond Copwatch met Friday night at 6pm to do Copwatch patrols during the monthly First Fridays Art Walk on Broad and Marshall streets downtown.One Copwatcher went into Rite Aid to purchase some drinks. The rest (about 12 at that point) were waiting on the edge of the parking lot.

Before Copwatch even split off into separate patrols, a Richmond Cop- Toney Waldorf of the 4th precinct – pulled into the Rite- Aid parking lot where we were meeting. He parked quickly and at an angle, and then exited his vehicle. He called out “Hey What Are You Doing”, to 2 Copwatchers – Z and M- who were walking past his car towards Broad street.  One Copwatcher, M, replied, “Am I Being Detained?”. The Cop did not identify himself or express what it was he wanted from anyone in that area. He finally exclaimed “I’m not talking to you” and then jumped in front of the Copwatcher, Z, on the outside of the pair (farther away from him). Waldorf the cop, unsheathed his Tazer and held it in a firing stance in Z’s face.

The Tazer was about 2 feet from his face, and the cop held it out while yelling about how Z should have stopped walking faster (even though it was by no means clear who that cop was talking to or what he wanted from whoever he was directing his attention towards).

The cop - Waldorf- already tall, stood on the median of the parking lot, putting his tazer (which he is holding with 2 hands in a firing stance) at Z's face level. Z did nothing to resist, reached for no potential weapon, and essentially did nothing threatening in any way which could have justified Waldorf's use of potentially lethal force.

When other police arrived they started telling the Copwatchers to leave the Rite Aid parking lot. Copwatchers, still filming, all cooperated and moved to exit the parking lot. While M was walking backwards out of the parking lot, filming, one Cop who’s embroidered tag said “Stone” refused to identify himself by name and code number. While he aggressively invaded M’s space, M continued to walk backwards towards the exit. Stone committed  Battery on M by grabbing her arm to push her at one point, while she continued to exit the parking lot. He also completely violated RPD’s protocol by refusing to identify himself.

Here is part of Z’s personal account:

“After waiting outside of the Rite Aid for a friend to retrieve some drinks, me and another friend were walking away to observe Richmond’s first Friday event.  While we were walking away a police car pulled up and an officer got out asking to speak with us.

I said “what?  No, why?”  and continued to walk slowly away

M said “are we being detained?”

Police said “I’m talking to him”

M repeated “are we being detained?”

The police officer darted in front of us and pulled out his Tazer pointing it at me telling me to stop where I was.  He told me to walk over to the back of his car which I did and he continued to question me and take my ID.  He asked me for my social security number and when I refused he threatened to spend hours dealing with me and to take me downtown.  I begrudgingly gave this stranger my SS number after being so threatened.  While he looked me up in his car two other officers berated me with questions.  One of the officers was very rude and spoke of his beliefs that human nature was full of evil.  He also believed that someone from Copwatch was probably the person that called them in the first place so that we could have another chance to “martyr” ourselves.  He got very heated trying to tell me all about how our few minutes of waiting outside of the Rite Aid for our friend was loitering since it was posted that we were not allowed.  Another officer came up later demanding that he be able to take my picture (to which I did not give consent) because they couldn’t find me in the system.

This being a rather abrupt and excessive use of force concerns me greatly.  This officer almost tazed me for not answering his questions quickly enough.  All of this harassment happened because he suspected I may be the person Rite Aid called the police on for smoking Cannabis.  I believe our presence as members of Copwatch greatly affected his choice to escalate force so quickly.” (more…)

This article was published on our friend’s website- http://www.richmondspark.wordpress.com

One of the main issues of the Monroe Park Occupation (www.monroeparkoccupation.wordpress.com) was the policy of the Richmond Police Department of destroying homeless camps and all of the belongings of homeless people with no notice. This policy has been an ongoing reality for people who are homeless in Richmond. In recent months, many camps have been destroyed by the Richmond police and by people doing court forced “community service” for the 4th precinct. Anyone interested in working on this issue should get in touch with the Wingnut Anarchist Collective. Destroying homeless camps and homeless people’s belongings is nothing short of class war, inhumane treatment, robbery, property destruction, and in many cases, attempted murder.

Here is the article:

ACLU Files FOIA Request Regarding VDOT Policies on Homeless, Litigation a Possibility

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the VA Department of Transportation (VDOT). The ACLU wants information regarding the policies of handling and destroying the possessions of homeless people who live on the land owned by VDOT.

Last month a company contracted by the Virginia Department of Transportation demolished a homeless encampment near Interstate 81 at Exit 315 near Winchester. At least four homeless men were using the property for months when the contracted company destroyed their camp and belongings.

The men lost tents, sleeping bags, clothes, food, medication, and other camping gear. One of the homeless men lost his wallet which contained his Social Security Card and birth certificate. No advance notice about the removal of their possessions was given. (more…)

Richmond Copwatch will be having its second official meeting on Monday, September 27th at 7 pm at the Wingnut. We will be discussing goals, strategy, copwatch protocol, and organizational structure for a city-wide Copwatch network.

Come find out how you can start a branch of copwatch in your own neighborhood!

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

Many of you who live in Southern Barton Heights may have seen some of the Wingnuts and other folks in the neighborhood out watching the cops on a pretty regular basis.  For those of you who we haven’t yet had the opportunity to talk with about what we’re doing, here’s a little bit of information about copwatch in general and Southern Barton Heights Cop Watch in specific.  If you’d like to get involved, do so!  Or if you have questions about how to get involved or what you can do to help, email us or stop by the Wingnut.

What is copwatch?
Copwatch is a decentralized network of autonomous organizations spread all over the country.  The purpose of a copwatch group is to monitor and document police activity, with the intention of helping to prevent police misconduct and police brutality.

Southern Barton Heights Copwatch is still in its formative stages, but we do our best to be a highly visible, monitoring presence to as much police activity in our area as we can.  We use such tactics as video taping, camera phones, and note taking to document police activity.

Who can do copwatch?
Anyone can do copwatch!  Any time you see the police stopping someone or interacting with members of our community, grab a camera, video camera, pen and paper, and document what you see.  Try to grab a friend or another person to watch the cops with you, it’s safer.
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Real fast, the plate numbers of the cop cars involved in an incident in Southern Barton Heights tonight.

At 7:24 139118L and 121443L searching a  woman’s purse in the Parking Lot of North Avenue Market and Deli

Neighborhood Liason unmarked white crown vic XNY9115  at 7:25 now 4 male cops at the scene

Cops followed person down North Avenue onto Battery. Now at 7:38, 139128L, 143373L, 139247L, 139118L all at corner of North and BAttery. (more…)