WeCopwatch cuts ties with Copblock.org

For years we have tried to work with elements of Cop Block that have longed to be part of something bigger. Bigger then disgruntled white men, bigger than finger pointing, bigger than the ideals that Libertarianism has to offer.

While over time, we have been excited to see many people grow both individually and collectively, we have also watched years of good work undone in a matter of months by the recent return of informant, and founding member of Cop Block, Adam Mueller, aka Ademo Freeman.

We have no interest in making this a Copwatch vs Cop Block ordeal, however WeCopwatch is disconnecting from Cop Block pending an accountability process for Adam, and a stated commitment to fighting oppression internally.

We applaud those who have begun to wake up, but be humble, you’ve arrived late to the struggle. We need you to focus more on yourself, so that you can begin to work better with the larger movement.

We know that in order to make a movement that is powerful enough to take on state violence and oppression with any meaningful impact, we have no space in our personal lives, or in our own groups for racism, misogyny, anti gayness, transphobia, xenophobia, or any form of blind hatred.

While Cop Block has been claimed to be an idea, the idea that “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights”, this idea has been perverted by people who are unwilling to reflect on how their behavior perpetuates everything that is wrong with the state. From FB pages run by misguided individuals, to the recent actions of Cop Block’s founding member, Cop Block is destined to fail as a group, an idea, or a movement if it is void of checks and balances.

We wish the best for folks, and we hope this is the moment that people begin to make this world a better place by looking within at things that need change. Imagine what could accomplish if we all held hands in this struggle?

Until then, bigots beware, times up!

And for the rest of you willing to fight the real fight, see you in the streets.

Jacob Crawford and David Whitt of WeCopwatch


Statements from Anti-Media and Peaceful Streets Project.

Camera Fundraiser for Oakland Copwatchers

http://www.gofundme.com/WeCopwatchOakland

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!

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http://www.gofundme.com/WeCopwatchOakland

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.

Defend Afrika Town

While the city of Oakland flaunts its newly developed downtown area, this “revitalization project” has come at the cost of the residents of Oakland. Gentrification, along with a brutal police force, has displaced black and brown residents as a means to “clean up” the neighborhood. AfrikaTown is a community effort to provide a different alternative, one that supports and lifts the existing community rather than displace it. AfrikaTown is already an important and necessary aspect of West Oakland, where people come to gather, celebrate, and eat.

Within AfrikaTown is Qilombo, a community center that offers workshops and events to the residents. It has a bookstore, a free store, and a food distribution program. Adjacent to Qilombo is a garden that has been transformed over the last year to provide fresh vegetables for the community, with a beautiful mural that depicts struggle across the black diaspora. Hundreds of people have helped to bring AfrikaTown to life, and we need more support than ever to see it continue.

Come out and support so we can see AfrikaTown become an established community in our city.

WeCopwatch supports Africa Town.
See You in the Streets

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WeCopwatch Investigates Dec 6. Police Actions in Berkeley

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On December 6, 2014, the Berkeley Police, assisted by other agencies, attacked scores of demonstrators protesting the Grand Jury decisions on the Eric Garner and Mike Brown killings.

WeCopwatch, Berkeley Copwatch and the National Lawyers Guild are collaborating on a People’s Investigation into the Berkeley Police response on Dec. 6, 2014, and NLG lawyers are considering legal action and conducting confidential interviews.

If you experienced or witnessed specific acts of police violence please contact us

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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.

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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!

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.

WeCopwatch

David Whitt

When Undercovers Attack

As protests and actions continue daily across the bay, police continue to implement new tactics to quell mass mobilizations. As many may know, undercover police officers brandished guns on demonstrators in Oakland last night.

Photo by Noah Berger

Photo by Noah Berger

While much is still unclear, reports have been coming in that these officers were agitating the public, one drew his firearm when questioned as another jumped on a seemingly uninvolved person.

Photo by WeCopwatch

Photo by WeCopwatch

Minutes following this ordeal a Copwatch and Bay Area Intifada contributor was arrested at gunpoint while questioning the identity of two masked individuals walking down an alley.

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At this point, it can be assumed that the use of plainclothes officers at Oakland demos is transcending traditional surveillance. This month alone there has been multiple accounts of officers making their identity more overt, and even making physical contact with people.

Did Oakland Police just join an Anti Cop Demonstration?

Support the Bay Area Anti Repression Committee Legal Fund Here.(They Bail our people out)

Support our WeCopwatcher here. (Cause a guy took a hit standing up for the people)