So The FBI is at Your Door. .

Image by Eccentric Circle

This is a repost from about three years ago. It’s important to note that this the only version to still exists online. Apparently the FBI has sent privacy complaints to youtube regarding their identities being open to the public. If you are an agent with the FBI and take issue with this post, consider how it would feel to be a law abiding person and be visited by agents for “pre crimes”. And if you take issue with this video being online, please contact the ACLU Northern Branch. . . .

Continue Reading…

Berkeley Police Delay Release of Coroner’s Report on Black Transgendered Woman’s Death in Custody

(Repost from AnnGarrison.com)
KPFA’s Ann Garrison interviews Berkeley Copwatch founder Andrea Pritchett about the Kayla Moore killing by the Berkeley Police Department

KPFA Evening News, 04.06.2013
In February KPFA News reported on Black transgendered Berkeley resident Kayla Moore’s death in Berkeley Police custody, after a violent struggle with police at her apartment on Allston Way on February 12th. Earlier this week Berkeley Copwatch, which has been conducting a citizen investigation of Moore’s death, contacted KPFA to say that the coroner’s autopsy report on the cause of Moore’s death will be withheld indefinitely at the request of the Berkeley Police Department.
KPFA spoke to Berkeley Copwatch founder Andrea Prichett, who said that she and other Berkeley Copwatchers plan to attend the Berkeley City Council meeting on April 30th, at City Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Berkeley, at 7 pm.

Click here for more WeCopwatch coverage of Kayla Moore


Answers! Not Undercovers!

Oakland Officer Involved Shooting Is Kept Off The Radio

On April 5th, 2013, Oakland police were notified of an alleged burglary in progress in West Oakland, California.

While information about the incident is still emerging, OPD has stated that one of the suspects was carrying a fake gun and did not know police were setting up a perimeter around the house. He was subsequently shot in the shoulder by an officer as he attempted to leave the area.

This is the 2nd OPD officer-involved shooting this week. On the evening of April 3rd, an Oakland officer shot an innocent teenager in the face while investigating an armed robbery in downtown Oakland. The teenager’s jaw and cheek were grazed, but his injuries are not considered life-threatening. OPD has since stated that the minor and his friends were not involved in a crime. Click here to see more about the April 3rd shooting 

Police officers have the right to defend themselves, just like anybody else. However, it will be interesting to see if the suspect shot today posed any threat to the officers. If he didn’t aim the gun at anyone, OPD’s standard procedure is to order the person to drop the weapon and to submit to arresting officers.

Fortunately, video of the incident will ultimately reveal what, if any, threat the suspect posed. All Oakland police are required to wear and activate their PDRD video cameras during police stops. If the officers involved in today’s shooting were following PDRD procedure, their cameras should have been rolling.

One thing that should raise alarm is the fact that OPD were advised to keep any mention of the shooting off the radio. (Watch the final moments of the featured video.)

This silence may be because the Oakland Police Department, like the Berkeley Police Department and countless others, controls the message after they shoot someone.

Click here for more WeCopwatch coverage of Kayla Moore and the Berkeley Police Coverup


Answers! Not Undercovers!

Austin Grand Jury Indicts Peaceful Streets Activists, Fails to Hold Aggressive Police Accountable

peaceful-streets-project-logoThis is a repost from Copblock of a press release sent-out by their friends active with Peaceful Streets Project on April 3rd, 2013
_______________________________

GRAND JURY FAILS TO INDICT BUEHLER OR OBORSKI ON FELONY CHARGES;

INDICTS ANTONIO BUEHLER, NORMA PIZANA, SARAH DICKERSON ON MISDEMEANORS

Four weeks after convening, the Travis County Grand Jury chose not to issue any felony indictments against Antonio Buehler or Austin Police Department (APD) Officer Patrick Oborski related to their New Year’s Day 2012 incident.

On New Year’s Day 2012, Oborski observed a car that was being driven without its headlights on West 6th street in downtown Austin, and pulled the car over at the 7-11 on N. Lamar and W. 10th Street. While Oborski was conducting a field sobriety test behind the vehicle, Norma Pizana who was a passenger in the vehicle, yelled from the passenger seat to the driver that the driver did not have to submit to a sobriety test. Oborski walked up to the car, leaned in and told Pizana not to “interfere” with his investigation, and then returned to the driver to continue the field sobriety test. However, according to the Penal Code, speech is not sufficient to “interfere” with an investigation, and Pizana was never charged with such a crime. After Pizana was told to stop attempting to communicate with the driver of the vehicle, APD Officer Robert Snider arrived on the scene and began to speak to Pizana.

Antonio Buehler, who was a designated driver that night, pulled into the same 7-11 as he was driving a friend home, in order to refuel the truck he was driving. When he finished fueling up, Buehler and his passenger, Ben Munoz, began to get back into their truck when they heard Pizana scream violently. They turned and saw Snider violently pulling Pizana out of the vehicle, and then throwing her down on the ground. As Pizana continued to cry out in pain, Oborski joined in and they began to apply continued upward pressure on her arms in what is considered a torture move by the U.S. Military and Federal Government. At that moment, Buehler tried to take pictures of what he believed was a violent assault. When Pizana noticed him taking pictures, she begged him to record the incident, and Buehler then began to demand that the cops stop abusing Pizana. Although Pizana was seated in her car, was not a threat to herself or the public, and her driver had not yet been arrested, she was arrested for Public Intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor.

After Snider and Oborski handcuffed Pizana and began escorting her to a squad car, Oborski turned and walked aggressively toward Buehler, got in Buehler’s face, and asked “who do you think you are?” Video shows that Buehler put his arms down by his side, with his palms forward in a non-threatening manner as he took a couple steps back, while Oborski continued to step toward Antonio and into his personal space. Video then shows Oborski violently thrusting his hands into the chest of Buehler a few times, pushing Buehler back until he was trapped between the bed of the truck he had been driving and Officer Oborski. After repeatedly and forcefully pushing Buehler in the chest, while Buehler kept his arms raised with palms facing forward, Oborski then attempted to arrest Buehler.

After Buehler was taken to the BAT Mobile and coerced into blowing into a breathalyzer machine, and being told by the technician that Buehler “broke” the machine by “blowing too hard”, he was then escorted to a transport vehicle where Oborski allegedly told Buehler that “you don’t f*** with police, you f***d with the wrong cop this time and now you’re going to f***ng pay”, after which he was transferred to Travis County Jail where he was charged with Felony Harassment of a Public Official, a 3rd Degree Felony, and Resisting Arrest, a Class A misdemeanor.

When Buehler was released from prison the next day, he was told by Ben Munoz that witnesses were present at the scene of the arrest, although the police prevented the witnesses from sharing their contact information with Munoz. Buehler immediately began to post fliers around the 7-11 location, and use social media to implore witnesses to step forward. Several witnesses did step forward, to include one who took cell phone video of the incident which proves that Oborski lied in his affidavit (Buehler never spit on Oborski; Oborski never wiped his face).

Despite about a half dozen witnesses that stepped forward willing to swear under oath that Pizana did not assault Snider and that Buehler did not spit in Oborski’s face, the cell phone video, the 7-11 surveillance video, audio from both Oborski and Snider, and self-incriminating lies written up in the affidavits of Oborski and Snider, the Austin Police Department and the District Attorney continued to press forward with the charges against Buehler and Pizana. In addition, 11 days after the initial arrests, and after Pizana shared her story of abuse with the media, the Austin Police Department filed two new charges against Pizana for resisting arrest and failure to obey a lawful order.

The Grand Jury did not indict Buehler for either the felony harassment of a public official charge or the resisting arrest charge. Instead they indicted him for failure to obey a lawful order, a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. The Grand Jury did not indict Pizana for public intoxication or failure to obey a lawful order. They did, however, indict her for resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in the Travis County Jail.

In the 15 months since the New Year’s Day incident, Buehler and other Austin activists launched the Peaceful Streets Project to fight back against police abuse, corruption and misconduct. They have held over a dozen Know Your Rights Trainings, a summit where they handed out 100 video cameras to needy residents of Austin, dozens of Police Abuse Complaint Departments and scores of cop watch events.

[Related video from YouTube.com/TheCopBlock]

The Grand Jury also returned indictments against Antonio Buehler for failure to obey a lawful order, a Class C misdemeanor, for filming police on August 24th, August 26th and September 21st, 2012.  Sarah Dickerson was also indicted for failure to obey a lawful order while filming police during the September 21st, 2012 incident.

A City of Austin Municipal Ordinance requires a person to comply with an order of a peace officer and prohibits a person from obstructing or interfering with an officer engaged in his official duties.  Violation of this ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. However, there was no evidence that either Buehler or Dickerson ever obstructed or interfered with an officer engaged in his official duties. Further, Austin Police Department policy (p. 106) clearly states that officers are not to “[i]n any way threaten, intimidate or otherwise discourage an individual from recording  officer’s enforcement activities”, which is exactly what APD did to Buehler and Dickerson in each one of the instances in which they were charged with “failure to obey a lawful order”.

In all, the Grand Jury met on six occasions and heard from 13 witnesses, including Antonio Buehler and Officer Patrick Oborski, although they did not hear from either Buehler or Dickerson regarding the post-New Year’s Day incidents, nor any of the Peaceful Streets Project volunteers who witnessed those incidents.  The felony charges considered by the Grand Jury were tampering with a governmental record by Officer Oborski as well as harassment of a public servant by Antonio Buehler.  The Grand Jury also considered whether Officer Oborski committed official oppression. However, the Grand Jury did not consider any charges against Officer Snider, nor did the Grand Jury did consider felony charges of Aggravated Perjury or Aggravated Assault against Oborski or Snider.

The Class A misdemeanor for Pizana will be transferred to County Court and will be handled by the County Attorney’s Office.  The Class C misdemeanor cases for Buehler and Dickerson will be transferred to Municipal Court where they will be handled by Municipal Court prosecutors.

Media Contacts:

  • Richard Boland, Peaceful Streets Project, 512.538.6998, rwboland@gmail.com
  • Antonio Buehler, Peaceful Streets Project, 512.785.3767, antonio@buehlered.com
  • John Bush, Peaceful Streets Project, 512.773.6102, johnbush512@gmail.com
  • Harold Gray, Peaceful Streets Project, 512.949.8185, haroldgray111@gmail.com
  • Joshua Pineda, Peaceful Streets Project, 409.679.3065, pisceincarnate@gmail.com

Austin Police Department:

Peaceful Streets:

Breaking Down (Police Hurt Mental Health)

Police often cite the dangers of their job as justification for use of force. On any given day in Oakland, you can see Oakland officers with guns drawn, chasing, surrounding, arresting.


Breaking Down (Police Hurt Mental Health)

When someone gets hurt or arrested, we’re lead to believe that they are criminals or they weren’t compliant. We’re told that the cops were in fear for their safety, and that force had to be used.

In these stories, we are told to overlook the serious issues in play. For instance, we’re asked to overlook poverty, and how police contribute to poverty by stopping, ticketing, and arresting members of the public. The police would also prefer that the public consider mental health an issue suitable for law enforcement.

Mental health issues are not crimes, but in a city like Oakland, where schools and other public resources are getting shut down left and right, mental health incidents are under OPD’s jurisdiction.

Oakland Police Didn’t Shoot Someone?

But even in Berkeley, a city known for their supposed tolerance of people with disabilities, the city’s “toothless” mental health team is sometimes dispatched to incidents alongside the police. How do police make these situations better?

For many people in crisis, the presence of police doesn’t have a calming effect. In fact, police often escalate mental health situations by attempting to restrain an individual. (A cop is trained to think that if they are not in control, then they are in danger, a mentality that doesn’t serve well amongst people in mental anguish.)

If the recent killing of Kayla Moore by Berkeley police shows us anything, it’s that the police are incapable of de-escalating tense situations where criminal enforcement has no place.


Answers! Not Undercovers!

Oakland has also lost its share of people due to officers who blur the line between use of force and aide. If mental health advocates truly existed in Oakland, Parnell Smith, Brownie Polk, Matt Cicelski, and many more might still be with us here today.

Oakland Police Department’s Policy around Mental Health

Oakland Police Mental Health Policy

Want To Start A Copwatch?

Over the years, Copwatch groups have spread across the nation and world.

If you are interested in starting a Copwatch group, reach out to your community and find like-minded folks. Read up on your rights (local, state, and federal). Check in with the greater public about Copwatch and see how they feel about it. If it’s a need that makes sense, go out and do it, and be great!

Here are some resources Berkeley Copwatch has used in Know Your Rights trainings over the years.

Continue Reading…

Right to Videotape Policy (Got One?)

When Berkeley Copwatch formed back in 1990, police were initially resistant to the idea of people watching them with video cameras. Some copwatchers would be harassed or even arrested for documenting police stops. But with conflict, there came resolution. The Berkeley Police Department eventually created a departmental policy known as “Bulletin 91” which required the Berkeley police to provide the least amount of restrictions to civilian oversight of the police during contained situations.

While the public has the right to observe and videotape police during the course of their duty, if you intend to pro-actively monitor the police, it doesn’t hurt to pressure your local department to develop a policy that outlines their requirement of officers to respect people’s right to observe.

Below are several examples of different cities’ copwatch policies:

Continue Reading…