Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Documenting Police Misconduct & Organizing to Resist It: One Man's Hopes

Copwatch: this blog has been created to allow victims of police misconduct as well as those who have positive experiences with the police to post their accounts.

I hope this blog will establish a record following the behavior of particular police officers, especially regarding their treatment of poor and homeless people outside in public spaces.

Police have recently had their power expanded to harass downtown by the Downtown Association, the Santa Cruz Neighbors, and the City Chamber of Commerce, working behind closed doors to create ordinances severely restricting political assembly.

I hope photos, videos, and other documents will also become a part of this blog

I hope those using the blog will be as specific as possible describing what they remember of the time, place, names, and badge numbers of the officers, victims, and witnesses involved.

Describing as accurately as possible what happened, what was said, who said it, whether a recording (audio or video) was made, who witnessed, etc. can be helpful in alerting the public to how the SCPD, the Parks and Recreation Rangers, the Deputies, the UCSC PD, the Highway Patrol, local security guards, and other local policing agencies are operating.

If court dates are involved, please post those, as well as citation numbers, court docket numbers, etc. If radio or other media accounts describe the incidents involved, please include those.

Those cited describing the incident need not write in the first person, but may choose to describe the incident from a third-party perspective, in order to preserve their right to avoid self-incrimination, while letting the public know what happened. In more serious cases, it may be appropriate to consult with an attorney before revealing some specific details of an incident for which you are being prosecuted.

Some posts, considered to be SPAM or unreliable personal attacks, may be hidden, but this blog will not, hopefully, be censored.

Copwatch tabling and videoing takes place regularly on Pacific Avenue. See www.indybay.org/santacruz for announcements and accounts of these events (for instance: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/03/19/18579233.php ).

For more information and/or if you wish to help with the Copwatch project, contact me at 831-423-4833.

Regular meetings of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) and HRO (the Human Rights Organization) are held respectively on Wednesday 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM and Saturdays 3 PM to 4:30 PM at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific Ave. Copwatch events are often planned at these meetings.

The next Copwatch is scheduled for 5 PM on Saturday March 29 in front of Borders Bookstore near Soquel and Pacific Avenues, weather permitting.

Robert Norse

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