Posts Tagged ‘police accountability’

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…)

Richmond Police try to force members of Richmond Copwatch down the sidewalk on Broad Street during a cancelled First Fridays on September 2nd.

Officer Gilbert and one other intentionally try to prevent Copwatch members from observing and recording the police, as we are legally allowed to do. They also insisted that Copwatch members would be written a summons if they did not keep walking. They denied the right of Copwatchers to stand on the city sidewalk. Officer Gilbert repeatedly assaults one Copwatcher by kicking and shoving him in an obvious attempt at harassment and intimidation. The Richmond Police shown in this video are clearly violating the rights of members of Richmond Copwatch.

If you are interested in Copwatch, starting a program in your area, or just getting a better feel for how the police operate you can listen to their radio conversations online here:

Listening to scanners is legal in Virginia, however using a scanner to commit a crime or act as a look out for a crime is big time illegal. If you decide to listen to a police scanner please keep this in mind and keep yourself legal!

When you listen to a scanner, you can start to hear how many calls of  what sort the police get, what sorts of descriptions and information they base a lot of their actions on (really general descriptions that make racial profiling obvious a lot of times), the words that they use, their radio codes, and more.

When Richmond Copwatch uses a scanner as opposed to going out on patrols, we leave a scanner on while we read or hang out, and then when we hear where the cops are, we walk or bike on over.  If you decide to start listening to a scanner and observing the police, please be safe. If you have questions, want tips, or want a How to Copwatch or Know Your Rights training please get in touch. We are willing and able to take these trainings to other organizations and neighborhoods. 804 303 5449  meetings on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7pm at 2005 Barton Avenue

Today we got an awesome box of goodies from our friends Marlon and Earthworm, participants in East Atlanta Copwatch. Included were new (and much needed) mugs, an array of cleaning supplies (one of our biggest tasks around here is keeping the house clean), a couple bags of collard seeds, and, most importantly…


NEW COPWATCH SHIRTS! (We got seven of ’em)

These asses kill fascists

Come to the Wingnut on Friday March 11th at 7pm
to watch a 50 minute documentary called These Streets are Watching.

We will have coffee, donuts, and information about Richmond Copwatch to accompany this movie.

If the weather is nice we will project the film in the front yard.

The Streets are Watching is a 50 minute video that takes a fresh look at police accountability through the eyes of three communities; Denver, Cincinnati and Berkeley. Independent filmmaker, Jacob Crawford, weaves three cities responses to police brutality into a single tale of community empowerment and direct action.

Within an amazing collection of footage that portrays police conduct and misconduct, the film conveys basic legal concepts that can provide practical help to groups and individuals seeking a clearer understanding of their rights when dealing with police. The film is divided into sections that explain our basic rights, tactics for documenting police activity and ideas for further action and organizing.