Copwatch: Difference between revisions

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Local Copwatch groups established their own chapters in several cities (e.g. [[Houston, Texas]] and [[New Orleans, Louisiana]]) although some chapters have either folded and/or disbanded. New Orleans Copwatch is still active, even in the aftermath of [[Hurricane Katrina]].{{Fact|date=August 2007}}
 
Local Copwatch groups established their own chapters in several cities (e.g. [[Houston, Texas]] and [[New Orleans, Louisiana]]) although some chapters have either folded and/or disbanded. New Orleans Copwatch is still active, even in the aftermath of [[Hurricane Katrina]].{{Fact|date=August 2007}}
   
==Criticism==
 
   
Critics argue that the group has displayed signs of an anti-police agenda. According to Tim Dees, administrator of Officer.com, Copwatch selectively distributes video and photographic media to "[[spin]]" incidents against law enforcement. He refers specifically to the video released by Copwatch showing William Cardenas being punched by [[LAPD]] officers. The video clip which was provided to the media excludes the foot pursuit and most of the arrest, and shows only the segment in which Cardenas was punched by the officer straddling him; Dees notes that a [[Superior Court]] commissioner found the officers justified as Cardenas was actively resisting arrest.<ref>[http://www.officer.com/interactive/2006/11/17/copwatch/ Officer.com Police Blogs & Podcasts » Cop Watch<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref>
 
 
After the fatal shooting in 2004 of Kendra S. James by [[Portland, Oregon]] Officer Scott McCollister, in which James attempted to drive away from a traffic stop while McCollister was pulling her out of the vehicle, and McCollister shot her, Copwatch offered a reward for a photograph of McCollister and then distributed posters bearing McCollister's photo with the phrase "Getting away with murder." The [[Willamette Week]] characterized the poster as "inflamed rhetoric" and argued that it served to harm "the relationship between the Portland police and the community it serves," as well as claiming that protest posters put up by the Rose City chapter of Copwatch are aimed at "inciting generalized anti-cop hysteria at the expense of informed criticism." Meanwhile, a member of the Rose City Copwatch group, which seeks to "disrupt the ability of the police to enforce race and class lines", says that the shooting "demonstrate[s] a culture of racism and brutality that's really sort of at the core of policing."<ref>[http://wweek.com/editorial/3024/4997/ Willamette Week | “Portland's crazed leftists / Arissa / Rose City Copwatch” | April 14th, 2004<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref> A grand jury later found no criminal wrongdoing on McCollister's part.<ref>[http://www.oregonlive.com/special/kendrajames/index.ssf?/special/oregonian/kendrajames/020404.html Officer in James death to return to duty<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref>
 
   
 
==References==
 
==References==

Revision as of 11:55, 12 August 2008

Phoenix Copwatch logo

Copwatch (also Cop Watch) is a network of United States and Canadian activist organizations that observe and document police conduct. The stated goal of Copwatch groups is to engage in monitoring of the police, videotaping police activity, and educating the public about police misconduct.

The first group to call itself Copwatch started in Berkeley, California in 1990, although there are now numerous Copwatch groups in cities throughout the United States.

William Cardenas Video

November 3 2006: Video showing an LAPD officer striking William Cardenas 6 times in the face as he struggles to prevent the officers from handcuffing him

On November 3 2006, a video of the arrest of alleged gang member William Cardenas was posted to YouTube by CopWatch LA. The video, in which Cardenas struggles to prevent the police from handcuffing him after attempting to escape arrest, shows an officer repeatedly punching him in the face while trying to force his hands together. According to the arrest report, several witnesses confirmed that Cardenas threw punches at the officers, who were only able to handcuff him after two of his friends arrived and told him to stop fighting. [1][2]

The circulation of this video led to nationwide media coverage of Copwatch and, although the LAPD had already begun a use-of-force investigation the same day as the arrest, prompted additional investigations into police conduct by both the Los Angeles Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[3] A Superior Court commissioner had previously concluded that the use of force was reasonable in light of the fact that Cardenas had fought to resist arrest.[1]

Copwatch methods

The main function of most Copwatch groups is monitoring police activity. "Copwatchers" go out on foot or driving patrols in their communities and videotape interactions between the police and civilians. Some groups also patrol at protests and demonstrations to ensure that the rights of protesters are not violated by police officers. One Copwatch organization states that it has a policy of non-interference with the police, although this may not be true for all groups.[4]

Copwatch groups also hold "Know Your Rights" forums to educate the public about their legal and human rights when interacting with the police, and some groups organize events to highlight problems of police abuse in their communities.[5]

Copwatch.com

The Copwatch.com website provides forums for the general public to discuss issues of police abuse and contains a database of complaints of police misconduct that have been filed on the Copwatch.com website. [6] One of the tactics advocated by the owners of this site is the "two person protest", which uses only a small number of people.[7] It is unclear whether this website is related to any local Copwatch activist group.

Branching Out

Local Copwatch groups established their own chapters in several cities (e.g. Houston, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana) although some chapters have either folded and/or disbanded. New Orleans Copwatch is still active, even in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.[citation needed]


References

  1. ^ a b Alleged LAPD Brutality Video Sparks Probe. CBS News, November 10, 2006
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times , November 11, 2006
  3. ^ Veiga, Alex. YouTube.com Video Prompts Probe of LAPD. USA Today, 2006-11-13
  4. ^ About Phoenix Copwatch
  5. ^ Chen, Michelle. ‘Copwatch’ Activists Patrol Communities to Thwart Police Misconduct. The New Standard, March 3, 2005.
  6. ^ Copwatch Forums
  7. ^ How To Stage a Two-Person Mass Protest

Further reading

  • Daniel J. Chacón, "When cops allegedly step out of line, group steps up pressure", Rocky Mountain News, November 18, 2005, Sec. News, Pg. 31A.
  • Russ Schanlaub, "Anti-Police Internet Sites", Law and Order, December 2005. Online version
  • Matt Leedy, "Dozens learn to tape police - Copwatch leader gives Fresnans tips on safely monitoring officers.", Fresno Bee, Aug. 28, 2005, Sec. News, Pg. B1.
  • "Houston PD wants Copwatch on its side", Law Enforcement News, October 31, 2002, Vol. XXVIII, No. 586. Online abstract
  • "Arizona vigilantes look for police abuse", Crime Control Digest, Washington: Jan 5, 2001, Vol. 35, Iss. 1; pg. 4.
  • Tim Dees, "Anti-police sites", Law and Order, Wilmette: Jun 2001. Vol. 49, Iss. 6; pg. 25.

External links

Media

Copwatch groups

USA

Canada