On June 10th, 2013, Oakland Police arrested a 12 year old boy for allegedly stealing a cookie from a store.
According to at least one witness, officers kicked the child while restraining him. Rebecca Luisa Ruiz-Lichter was on the scene with her video camera to advocate for the child’s well being.
Video 1 (shot by Rebecca Luisa Ruiz-Lichter)
In the first video you can see Rebecca informing the police of her reasons for filming. A crime scene technician makes several attempts to obstruct Rebecca’s ability to video, to the point of making physical contact
Video 2 (shot by Rebecca Luisa Ruiz-Lichter)
In the second video the irate police employee tell Rebecca, “Mam, take your video camera and go stand over there.” Then proceeds to push Rebecca backwards making physical contact with her along the way
On June 7th, 2013, WeCopwatch hit the streets of Downtown Oakland to observe police interactions with the public.
While it was a fairly mild evening it is usual for Oakland Police to shut down 1rst Friday in sections. As police attempted to move people from the West Grand and Telegraph area, one officer became aware of that he was being videotaped and shined a spot light into a WeCopwatch camera. But then he stopped, likely realizing that the interaction would probably make it to youtube by the next morning.
People have the right to observe police conduct. There are no reasons to shine a light in someone’s camera in a lit area except to obstruct their ability to document.
This past May Day, autonomous/anarchist people of color held a contingent of about 75 people within the Sin Fronteras’ Immigrant Solidarity march. Although the contingent had a clear non-reformist and unapologetic stance about immigration, they spent the day in solidarity with those struggling against unjust labor and immigration policies.
The mood of the march was joyous and celebratory. During the march, two Muslim anarchists spotted large men who seemed out of place and were paying too much attention to the group. One cop was snapping photos of the Muslims within the contingent.
Demonstrating proper Addab (Islamic etiquette), the Muslim anarchists confronted the men who were clearly undercover police, stopped them from taking photos, and with the support of the rest of the autonomous/anarchist contingent sent them on their way with chants of “Pigs Out!” and “Pigs are Haraam!” Embarrassed and exposed, the two undercover officers slipped away through the crowds watching the spectacle.
An interesting year in California as police across the state are trying out a new strategy to stop people from Copwatching.
Incidents have been taking place where Police are claiming to believe that camera wielding citizens may be pointing weapons at them. Frankly it’s true. Any police officer that is doing something wrong, certainly doesn’t want it documented, and any person with a camera, can use it to protect themselves.
Carlos Miller based out of Miami has been pretty on top of the issue but in case you haven’t seen
Look at these four recent incidents in different areas across the state of California and determine for yourself whether this is a new attempt at scaring people out of videotaping the police.
Watch as this incident unfolds. The person stopped knows his rights, and asserts them. At 2:10m into the video an officer that arrives late tells the person videotaping not to point the camera at him claiming it could be a “make shift” weapon.
Youtube.com Newark ENT
Gang Cops try to make person turn off camera after rolling up tough but lacking reasonable suspicion.
This cop claims to have seen cellphones that are guns. What do you think?
Youtube.com Carlos Miller
However you feel on the issue. Copwatchers beware. This appears to be a tactic being implemented by people with suspect and dangerous intentions. Be careful, have each other’s backs. The cop in this video thought he could get away with murder. There are many more out there.
Written by Steve Silverman of FlexYourRights.org
Last week the City of Boston agreed to pay Simon Glik $170,000 in damages and legal fees to settle a civil rights lawsuit stemming from his 2007 felony arrest for videotaping police roughing up a suspect. Prior to the settlement, the First Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Glik had a "constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public." The Boston Police Department now explicitly instructs its officers not to arrest citizens openly recording them in public.
In recent years, Oakland has seen an accelerated gentrification process occurring. City Hall and law enforcement operations are both engaged in the dirty work that comes along with these processes. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen collaboration between the police and the FBI. We’ve seen 300 officers and 200 Feds zooming up and down the streets like an occupying army. They only came up with five arrests and a few guns. Another FBI-OPD raid occurred on First Friday. If one takes a deeper look, it doesn’t take long to see that the neighborhoods with the fastest rates of gentrification are the same as those that fall within the borders of Oakland’s gang injunctions. There are zero degrees of separation between the mayor’s office, city council, policing policies and the Business Improvement Districts of gentrification. Written by Mohammed Harun Arsalai
(Interview by Ann Garrison) WeCopwatch checks in with KPFA on recent FBI/OPD Raids on the Acorn Projects. While many people have chimed in that this type of Martial Law is what we can come to expect in the future, these type of raids occur in Oakland all the time.
On April 24th, 2013, scores of Federal Agents alongside the Oakland Police, California Highway Patrol, and other law enforcement agencies descended upon the Acorn Projects in West Oakland, executing multiple simultaneous raids. According to ABC 7, residents along with main stream media outlets were given no immediate explanation for the raids. At 1:am OPD released a press release stating that they had participated in hi risk weapons and narcotics warrants search warrants.