Posts Tagged ‘racial profiling’

First Meeting of proposed new Barton Heights Neighborhood Association

Barton Heights has not had a Neighborhood Association since the previous President, the much loved Ralph Harris sadly passed away.

Mark Dorroh, who was the Secretary at the time, is now organizing to re-create the Neighborhood Association.

An email list has been revived, and a few items proposed for the agenda of the first meeting.

Some of the proposed agenda items include working with the police to have a National Night Out event on August 7th, and forming a Neighborhood Watch program as part of the Neighborhood Association. These are 2 things that us Wingnuts are against, and we would encourage folks who have questions about our stance on these topics to get in touch.

The previous incarnation of our neighborhood association worked with police, invited them to meetings to report on crime, and included them on the email list. The previous neighborhood association also used a hierarchical structure for organization, and majority rules decision making.  Because the organization is re-starting there is an opportunity this Wednesday for community members to come express what they really do and do not want in a neighborhood association and we strongly encourage folks to come out and do so.

We can choose to not work with the police, to not welcome them at our meetings, to not include a neighborhood watch group that calls the police as part of the association, and to operate through consensus or another more equitable decision making process.

The first meeting will be on Wednesday July 18th at 6:30 pm at the Northside Family Resource Center at 800 West Graham Road- behind the 2 auto parts stores on Chamberlayne Ave.

Folks who would like a ride should meet at the Wingnut Anarchist Collective at 2005 Barton Avenue at 6pm on Wed. July 18th.

rarmcwa@aol.com is Mark’s email, so folks interested in being added to the Barton Heights Neighborhood Association email list should send him an email requesting it. If folks need help accessing the internet, the Wingnut has wireless you can come use, and a computer  which are both available during Open Hours on Wednesdays and Fridays from 4-9pm.

We will also be making paper fliers and info about the meeting available around the area to help get in touch with folks without internet access.

Call, stop by, or email us if you would like to talk about any of this! 804 303 5449, wingnut_collective@yahoo.com

Advertisements

On Thursday May 17th, folks from the Wingnut Anarchist Collective encountered, yet again, members of the Richmond Police Department racially profiling and harassing members of the Southern Barton Heights community.

Here is a video of the first interaction we recorded:

A group of us were on the porch of the Wingnut when we saw a RPD cruiser stop to pull over a young man of color who was walking down Barton Avenue. They stopped him with the excuse that he was walking in the street, but this was a very clear use of racial profiling and “stop and frisk” type policing. We grabbed our Copwatch video camera, and walked down the block to film the incident. We did not have the camera recording our full approach, and were unable to get video of the police frisking the man, though some of us did witness it.

One officer, M. Godwin, was fairly aggressive about not allowing Copwatcher Mo to stand on the public sidewalk. A car pulled up Home St. while the RPD cops had their cruiser parked in the middle of Barton Avenue, completely obstructing the road. The folks in the car asked very politely if the police could move the cruiser so they could get by, since Barton is a one way street and they couldn’t turn the other way. The police ignored them.

Luckily the police let our neighbor go. Unfortunately, they continued down the street detaining another young man of color and eventually giving Copwatcher Mo a ticket for standing on the public sidewalk. More on that encounter is available on another post.

A group of us were on the porch of the Wingnut when we saw a RPD cruiser stop to pull over a young man of color who was walking down Barton Avenue. They stopped him with the excuse that he was walking in the street, but this was a very clear use of racial profiling and “stop and frisk” type policing. We grabbed our Copwatch video camera, and walked down the block to film the incident. We did not have the camera recording our full approach, and were unable to get video of the police frisking the man, though some of us did witness it.

One officer, M Godwin, was fairly aggressive about not allowing Copwatcher Mo to stand on the public sidewalk. A car pulled up Home St. while the RPD cops had their cruiser parked in the middle of Barton Avenue, completely obstructing the road. The folks in the car asked very politely if the police could move the cruiser so they could get by, since Barton is a one way street and they couldn’t turn the other way. The police ignored them.

When the police were done harassing our neighbor, they drove off. We started to head back to the house, when someone noticed they had gone down a few blocks and stopped another young man of color. We did not witness the initial stop, so can’t say for sure what excuse they used for detaining him while they ran his ID.

The person they detained said this was the 3rd time he has been randomly stopped by the cops this week. If you listen carefully you can hear him say this in the video. The amount of police and police harassment in Southern Barton Heights is why we started Copwatch 2 years ago. Unfortunately the cops still engage in racial profiling, harassment, brutality, and many other behaviors which hurt the community.

Again, we approached the scene to film and observe. Both times we were not asked to leave the scene, or even to step back from the scene. During the second incident, Officer Godwin again approached Mo and told her that she couldn’t stand on the sidewalk. He did not say anything about people standing on the grass just as close, or anything about his scene, officer safety etc. He was very clearly just trying to harass Mo.

At one point Mo tried to walk past the RPD Cops who were very clearly blocking the sidewalk. The cops stopped Mo and refused to let her go by. Later, a woman and a child walked up the sidewalk, easily past Mo who was allegedly obstructing the sidewalk, and through the scene without a problem.

Officer Godwin told Mo to move off of the sidewalk repeatedly. Mo told him repeatedly that she was legally allowed to be on the public sidewalk. He eventually demanded Mo’s ID and stomped off to write a citation. Officer Godwin was not stopping anyone from standing in the grass next to the sidewalk, or just as close to the scene as Mo was. After he wrote Mo the citation she walked back to where they had been standing before on the sidewalk. (The young man the RPD had detained was STILL at this point being held by the police, so there was more copwatching to do).

Officer Godwin then threatened to give Mo 5 seconds to get off the sidewalk or else he would take Mo to lockup. However, when Mo answered a phone call he walked off.

Mo’s summons says it is for violation of Law Section 18.2-404 102.2 and the charge is described as “Obstructing Free Passage”. This is a criminal charge- a first degree misdemeanor.

Mo’s court date is Thursday May 31st at 9am at the Manchester general district court at 920 Hull St. on Richmond’s southside. Supporters are encouraged to come out on the 31st to support Mo, and Richmond Copwatch, as well as the right of people to stand on the sidewalk.

If you are interested in learning how to do Copwatch, we can teach you! We also do Know Your Rights trainings, which we recomend to eveyone. Fortunately the majority of the time Copwatchers do not get threatened with arrest, and risk levels to be taken are up to every individual copwatcher and copwatching group.  Feel free to get in touch if you are interested in learning how to copwatch, know your rights trainings, our copwatch First Fridays Patrols, or anything else copwatch related. sbhcopwatch@gmail.com or 804  303 5449 or come by 2005 Barton Avenue on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7pm for the Copwatch Meeting!