Camera Fundraiser for Oakland Copwatchers

In August 2014 during the days following the murder of Mike Brown, a member of WeCopwatch flew out to Ferguson from Oakland, California. Amidst teargas and live fire, WeCopwatch and residents of Ferguson would fundraise over $1000 to get cameras into the hands of the community.

And the Copwatch movement in St. Louis took off from there.

As Spring descends upon us, Copwatch efforts in Ferguson continue to thrive, to the point that Ferguson is now helping support efforts back in Oakland. In recent months, several autonomous Copwatch projects have sprouted, and we think it’s a perfect time to get another camera drive in motion.

Our folks need cameras. They’ve been going out on regular patrols, conducting Know Your Rights / Copwatch trainings and taking a stand against one of America’s most brutal police forces: the Oakland Police Department.

Click Here to Donate to Our Camera Drive!

Consider dropping some coin for our crew in Oakland. We’re hoping to purchase 10-15 cameras to help facilitate better documentation during our shifts.

Thanks for believing in us. See you in the streets.

Live Streamers Make Great Informants

There are many ways to effectively document the movement while protecting the space, its movements and people’s privacy. Live Streaming is generally NOT one of them.

A common issue with Streamers is their display of entitlement, often citing the value of bringing the movement to the people. But Streamers have a hard time admitting that the police find their work more valuable then demonstrators.

In a world of voyeurism and exhibitionists, Streamers often get carried away, interpreting their role as being a narrator for the movement. They often film people without their consent, placing more value in presenting to their viewership, then protecting the group that is already taking risks by just getting out into the street to protest.

One of the biggest problems with streaming is that it gives real time information to the police as far as what people are present, the group’s intentions, as well as its location and routes. Embedded Streamers give police a tactical advantage when trying to conduct mass arrests.

An even more tragic contract Streamers impose on demonstrators is the raw, unedited, archived video that is often made public and available online for law enforcement to use later to help identify and target people.

Before we move to “Streamer Solutions” lets review some “Streamer tactics” that are favorable to law enforcement, and almost always at the expense of the people.

Very Poor Streamer Etiquette

Calling People out by Name on Streams.

People don’t go to protests for other people to call them out on streams that are put up permanently online for law enforcement to review.

Filming Peoples’ Identities on Streams

Law enforcement use streams to target and identify people for repression and arrest

Narrating your Interpretation of what Kind of Action is Taking Place

Streamers often divulge personal opinions rather than facts when narrating about actions. Are you prepared to be a witness for law enforcement in the future?

Filming Direct Actions

Everything you film, can and will be used against protesters if law enforcement has anything to do with it.

Narrating Logistics and Tactics

At the height of Occupy Oakland, Undercovers were being called into certain FTP protests because of the “no Live Streaming” / “no Twittering” tactic.

FTP marches are ongoing Fuck the Police marches that take place in Oakland and across the Bay.

Narrating Group Routes

Police have a much easier time arresting people in the streets when they have Streamers narrating the group’s routes. You don’t need Undercovers and helicopters when you have a front-row seat.

If you want to be helpful to the movement, be honest about your intentions. Is your viewership more important than the people you are standing with? Do you want to be doing something that benefits the police over the people? Every action, every mass mobilization, has a story that can be told. But folks need to either start holding “non-streaming” actions again, or streamers should stop operating as informants for the police.

If any of these issues are concerning to you, maybe consider NOT “Live Streaming” your next protest. Pick up a still camera, conduct some audio interviews, heck shoot some video. There’s no reason why you can’t go home after a protest and produce some content that is useful and not harmful. But in case it’s not in your blood to consider other people on that level, here are some good Live Stream tactics.

“Good” Livestream Tactics

  • Stand hundreds of feet away from the group so the low quality recording doesn’t pick up conversations or peoples’ identity.
  • Don’t film peoples’ identity without their consent.
  • Don’t narrate intentions, tactics, locations, or destinations.
  • Wear a bright shirt that says “Live Streamer” or “Informant.”

More “Real Good” Livestream Tactics

  • Live Stream an event, panel, or discussion where all parties consent.
  • Live Stream a demo or action where all parties involved consent.
  • Live Stream your interactions when being stopped, questioned, or harassed by law enforcement. (maybe put your channel on private!)

Be safe out there, and make it safer for the masses by considering them when you point a camera at them.

Copwatching 101 in current Anti Police Rebellions

Copwatchers are out in full in effect as Anti Police Uprisings continue to take place across the bay area. Here are a couple ideas of what to be looking for if you are out in the streets documenting police actions.

1. Before any police actions occur, get the identity of the officers present.
Names, badge numbers, any weapons, and which department they work for can all be very helpful down the line if any misconduct should occur.

2. Film police movements, formations and any police actions such as threats, attacks, or arrests. (this can help in getting someone’s case dismissed)

3. Film police dressed in civilian costumes.

Undercover snatch squads and provocateurs EXIST. Careful not to “Question/Out” someone unless you know they are police, or are clearly acting policishly. (photographing people, photographing people doing “smashy smashy”, talking into their hands etc). This movement is growing, there are a lot of new and ignorant individuals walking amongst us. Not all of them are cops, some are just fools beginning to wake up.

Person talking into his hand. Very suspicious!

To all the journalists and picture takers.
If you have something stop and think! Should this be put online, could it compromise someone’s case. Examine your intentions of putting it online. There is a very visible balance between protecting people and informing the world of what is taking place. How you bring information to the people, define what your intentions really are.

DON’T film.
Remember video can be seized and subpoenaed.
Don’t film people “expressing” themselves. We don’t work WITH the police, we don’t work FOR the police. We are there to Film the Police, and to be supporters in The People’s right to demonstrate/rebel including and supporting their right to determine what that looks like.

Stay safe out there.


Copwatching Nationally on Date of Grand Jury Announcement


For those of us living in the Bay Area, it has been an inspiration to see people taking it to the streets of Ferguson against racist and brutal police.

For those of us in who participated in the Oscar Grant Rebellions, and lived through the street battles of Occupy, watching the community of St Louis brace for announcements of false justice is painful.

In 2010, we prepared for months around the date of the Johannes Mehserle Verdict in the murder of Oscar Grant, and then we watched our movement die in the following months from stress, short-sited objectives, and infighting.

In 2011 we watched the threat of impending police raids of our Occupy encampments wear down our spirits, and the perpetual attacks from the police deplete our numbers.

We Support you Canfield.
We Support you Ferguson.
We Support you St Louis.

Learn from us and never give up. The problems with the police don’t end with a grand jury announcement, but hopefully people’s false hopes in the system do.

The police will never hold themselves accountable, and they will never change.
So we need to change, and we need to be there for each other.


Are you a Copwatch crew? Are you going to be in the streets in your own city, addressing your own injustices on the day of Grand Jury announcement in St Louis?

While it’s great some people are heading to St. Louis to show love and solidarity for an area in conflict, we should not be overlooking the issues falling out in our front yard.

Copwatchers will be out in force in Oakland, identifying the police before the rally, and documenting their activities and actions against people throughout the event.

If you plan to be out in your own city Copwatching on that date, contact us, [email protected]. We’d love to hear about your efforts, and be sure to update us with how it worked with your team, and any issues that came up with the police.

Copwatch is a beautiful idea. It can be a helpful tool in forcing police to be restrained, and it is a project that outlives most FTP movements due to the sad reality that until we abolish the police, we need to be out there, and we need to be watching them. See you in the streets. -WeCopwatch

WeCopwatch Cameras Drive

WeCopwatch is looking for used Cameras and Computers for expanding Copwatch efforts.

It’s only been a few months, but it feels like a year. The Canfield Watchmen and WeCopwatch have been training Ferguson residents about their rights when stopped by the police or while copwatching. We’ve had a successful fundraiser to maintain a steady surplus of videos cameras, shirts, and literature for copwatch efforts in the St Louis area.

But we are taking this show on the road. Trainings have been expanding to other neighborhoods in Ferguson, and to other states as well. The Canfield Watchmen and WeCopwatch have been proudly supporting Copwatch initiatives in DC, Detroit, and Chicago.

As the year draws closer to an end, we wanted to reach out to people to see if folks had extra cameras, camera phones, video cameras, used apple computers. We are finding no shortage in communities that are organized and in need of some assistance in getting a Copwatch project started.

Email [email protected] if you have something you’d like to donate.

We’re also looking for people who print and produce cameras. We need the perfect Copwatch camera! Quality, Wireless Capability, Small. . Holler!

Donate to the GoFundMe Camera Drive Here

WeCopwatch’s public disassociation of recent posts on Copblock

WeCopwatch’s public disassociation of posts being disseminated over Copblock, Police The Police, and the Free Thought Project.

This is Jacob of WeCopwatch. I want to reach out to the thousands of people who are appalled by recent posts on the Copblock Facebook page. While WeCopwatch is not Copblock, or The Free Thought Project, I can say that there has been a lot of internal debates, fights, and discussions about these posts. You are not alone.

Some videos and memes posted on Copblock recently have used images of that CHP officer violently beating a helpless black woman on the side of the highway to downplay women’s experiences of sexual harassment as depicted in that despicably racist “street harassment” video.

A lot of people have interpreted these posts to suggest that one image captures state violence against women, while another depicts people being friendly to a woman walking down the road. Initially, I thought the post was a jab at racist America all up in arms about a white woman being harassed by black men, but not being upset at the image of a white male officer beating a black grandmother senseless.

But there is another message in that meme and subsequent posts that I find really problematic. Downplaying women’s daily experiences of being harassed.

First I want to get this cleared up. That video is racist liberal trash made to rally the white left around a soon to be made law that will be used against people who are not white.

Second, there is a common theme among some in the very small population of Libertarian women that goes something like this. “Grow the fuck up. Women aren’t oppressed in this world.” But one would have to understand the individualist culture of Liberty folks to know they only speak for themselves. It’s part of self-ownership.

So this message goes to ALL parties involved. The racist liberals, the woman beaters, the street harassers, the meme makers, and the ignorant individualists that speak for others by denying the abuse that so many women experience daily.

A meme is the simplification of something far more complex. You can’t simplify fucked up street interactions into men just being friendly.
Oh wait. . . You can when you put it next to a CHP officer beating a woman on the side of the highway.

Actually, you can make anything look great when placing it next to a CHP officer beating a woman on the side of the highway.

These posts have been irresponsible because they suggest that we have to choose one form of abuse to another. And that’s not how it works. Well unless you put an image of a CHP officer beating a woman on the side of the highway.

I’ll use some copwatching examples to help bring some clarity to why I think these memes and posts are not only counterproductive, but support violence against women.

1. Ok so copwatching. You witness the day to day street harassment of the police, their threats of violence and coercion. (many who downplay sexual harassment do view simple police threats and acts of coercion as violence)

2. Then one day you witness police violence in the rawest form.

No one would argue that the second incident is far more brutal and raw than the first. But no one would argue that the first example, the more frequent police experience is not fucked up. We often hear from Statists, “well you must have done something wrong to deserve that treatment.” Do you see where this is going?

Police stop and harass people day in and day out. It’s a real problem.
Police are a real problem.

So is the entitlement many men feel when they sexually harass someone they know does not want to interact with them. I suppose if most women never experienced sexual assault on some level, this would be a non-issue. But it’s a problem. Rape, assault, harassment. It’s a problem.
Unfortunately many deflect sexual harassment as kindness. (probably because they’re guilty of harassment)
“well you must have done something wrong to deserve that treatment.” says the Statists as they watch acts of “kindness” dissolve to insults.

Women go through it. Day in and day, from losers in social circles to losers in the workplace, to losers in the street.
To those losers, if someone doesn’t want to interact with you. Leave them the fuck alone.

To the deniers, shame on your for belittling other people’s real experiences. Just because you don’t experience it, doesn’t give you the right to say it doesn’t exist.

To the meme makers, you set Copblock back years when you release irresponsible messages that depict Copblock as a white man’s club. You can do better. (important note. Memes and posts are made by individuals from various groups and pages.)

To the racist liberals who made this video, good job. You made sexual harassment a joke when you edited out the white men. Way to make sexual violence, a race thing.

WeCopwatch wants to make it clear, you are safe and welcome in our community.
We don’t take kindly to oppression, whether it be from the state, or from people.

We know that in order to take on police violence, we need to change the fucked up mentalities we have in our society, or we will inevitably perpetuate everything we find so wrong in the state.

Good luck out there.

The 1000 Camera Initiative

A Canfield Watchmen and WeCopwatch Project

“We Need More Copwatchers. Not Cops with Cameras.” – David Whitt, Canfield Watchmen

The Canfield Watchmen is a community based Copwatch project recently formed in the Ferguson, MO, Canfield Green apartments, where Mike Brown was killed.

Canfield Green residents organized to educate themselves on their rights in police encounters and equip themselves with video cameras as a deterrent to further police misconduct. Funds raised by the Watchmen and Oakland, CA – based WeCopwatch enabled hundreds of Canfield residents to be trained and receive cameras.

The cameras led to a significant decrease in police harassment and violence, prompting the Canfield Watchmen to train residents of other St. Louis County neighborhoods and groups active in the Justice for Mike Brown movement.

Today, the Canfield Watchmen are announcing the 1000 Camera Project, a joint project of the Watchmen and WeCopwatch. One thousand St. Louis area residents will be trained and armed with copwatch cameras.

If you and your community reside in the ST Louis area and want to make a difference. Contact us!

Canfield Watchmen Distribute Copwatch Gear For Halloween

As you know, WeCopwatch and The Canfield Watchmen have been conducting Know Your Rights trainings and equipping local residents with video cameras. This Halloween The Canfield Watchmen are handing out Copwatch shirts to newly trained Copwatchers to help promote a safe environment for trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

We sell the Copwatch Gear on WeCopwatch to be able to get these shirts to the people we train.