Phoenix Copwatch "Know Your Rights" forum on 2/18


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pluvo
February 10, 2006, 07:22 PM
Excerpt of an email from Phoenix Copwatch:

We are having a Know Your Rights Workshop on Saturday, February 18, from 2:30-3:30 pm. At the workshop you can learn more about what Phoenix Copwatch does, and a criminal defense lawyer will discuss what you should do and say during police encounters. She will also answer general questions from the audience. The workshop is part of the annual Local to Global Justice Teach-in held on the ASU Tempe campus. Our workshop will be held in Payne Hall room 129, on the west side of campus. We will also have a table at the event so you can stop by and say "hi". You can view a map of campus here: http://www.asu.edu/map/map.html

To learn more about Phoenix Copwatch, visit our website at www.phoenixcopwatch.org

Anybody have any experience (good or bad) with these folks?

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ArmedBear
February 10, 2006, 07:29 PM
Oh, fine, another hate-filled cop bigot!

El Tejon
February 10, 2006, 07:36 PM
Oh, no, not a criminal defense attorney! They're the worst.

Robert Hairless
February 12, 2006, 04:37 AM
Oh my. People who think they have rights. :)

Art Eatman
February 12, 2006, 06:47 PM
Don't we read some of this same attitude from time to time, here at THR? Police brutality is news because when you look at a nation of 300 million, and the many tens of thousandes of police, the bad events are relatively rare. "News" is of the unusual events, as well as of the prurient.

Hey, some hunters are also poachers. We don't judge all hunters by an evil few.

If the people of the copwatch would leave out the emotionally-laden words, the actual information they can provide would be useful both to the ordinary citizen and to police. We here talk about the law about what one must do or need not do in our own encounters with police.

The point of interest to us, I believe, is that this group has a one-sided view of ALL police as MOST LIKELY to WANT to go outside the law.

Art

Coronach
February 12, 2006, 06:50 PM
Anybody have any experience (good or bad) with these folks?No practical experience, but from reading their website, it seems that they are biased towards the "if the police shoot somebody, they're wrong" mentality.

Running around and filming the police is the latest trend, and while it can be a PITA for the cops, it's generally not a bad thing. Sunshine is good, generally speaking. The bad thing is that the few times they find something it will be front page news, and the many times that they don't it will never make the news.

Same old, same old.

Mike

LawDog
February 12, 2006, 11:30 PM
We also demand an end to shoot-to-kill policies among the Valley police departments, in which the police are ordered to shoot to kill a person rather than wound or disable them.

*sigh*

Wonderful. More Hollywood tacticians. "Why don't you just shoot them in the arm?"

We believe that police harassment and brutality is especially widespread in communities of color and that this is due to the long history of white supremacy in this country.

I know I've heard this somewhere before.

LawDog

Robert Hairless
February 12, 2006, 11:51 PM
Lots of knee jerk reactions here. huh? :)

beerslurpy
February 13, 2006, 12:02 AM
I am glad that there are people willing to go around and videotape the police for free. I think their anti-police bias is good because anything potentially bad will be brought to the unbiased attention of the public instead of being whitewashed. I think most cops are decent enough guys that this wont be a problem.

Coronach
February 13, 2006, 04:52 AM
Lots of knee jerk reactions here. huh?I would not call an expression of contempt directed atWe also demand an end to shoot-to-kill policies among the Valley police departments, in which the police are ordered to shoot to kill a person rather than wound or disable them.a "knee-jerk" reaction. It is a properly directed expression of disdain for a silly idea. Now, if you do not understand why 'shoot to disable' is a dumb idea, we can discuss this. But it is a dumb idea.

LawDog, where on their site did you see that? I obviously missed it in my (Admittedly brief) skim-over.

Mike

Optical Serenity
February 13, 2006, 08:42 AM
The point of interest to us, I believe, is that this group has a one-sided view of ALL police as MOST LIKELY to WANT to go outside the law.


I would bet the members of this group are also members of MADD, PETA, Sierra Club, and a ton of Anti-Gun clubs...

And yet, we'll have knuckleheads here supporting them. :rolleyes:

LawDog
February 13, 2006, 09:00 AM
Mike,

http://www.phoenixcopwatch.org/about.html

Third paragraph.

Also, from the news page:
http://www.phoenixcopwatch.org/news.html

We Got The Camera
by Steve Phalen, Phoenix

"Who got the camera?"
Ice Cube

Phoenix cops take heed! The next time you're about to harass or beat someone, check yourself: Copwatch is in the house and anything you say or do could be used against you in a court of law!!

Copwatch, which includes members of the local group Ruckus, is a grassroots watchdog group that observes and records potentially abusive police incidents. Copwatch patrols go out regularly and videotape cops as they work their beat. Videotaping cops not only helps combat police brutality, it also strikes a blow against white privilege. Copwatch wants cops who are about to harass or beat someone to check themselves and realize that they could be on the news the next day, and that any video recording could become evidence against them in court.

Black Panther Party
The principles of Copwatch are based loosely on those of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The Black Panthers recognized the role cops play in oppressing people of color and ensuring white privilege. In fact, the Party got its start by watching cops when the late Huey P. Newton and other Black Panthers patrolled the streets of Oakland in the late 1960s. When pulled over by a cop (as usually happened simply because they were Black) Newton would confront cops and use the language of the law against them. By asserting his legal rights and the rights of Black people in general, Newton took away much of the power that racist cops held over the Black community.

The Thick White Line
People may ask, "But why watch cops?" After all, cops often see themselves as the "thin blue line" between individual freedom and social disorder. The Ruckus asserts that Copwatch is needed because in the U.S., the police have historically served the interests of capitalism and white privilege. Cops are more like a "thick white line" - a barrier between not only rich and poor, but also between "the white race" and everyone else.

When it comes to crime prevention, cops spend most of their time protecting property. And since wealthy capitalists own the vast majority of property, the police primarily serve their interests. Further, this country was founded on white supremacy and the atrocities of slavery, so it is not surprising that the American system of capitalism is also a system of white privilege that affords many unearned advantages to members of the "white race." And the police have always been right there to enforce white privilege and racial division by criminalizing people of color.

Thus cops work to maintain the status quo in a socially unjust society, a society in which neither people of color nor those who partake of white privilege are free. Therefore, since the police have an institutional role in defending this status quo, police abuse is not just a matter of certain bad cops, as some would claim. Whether "good" or "bad," it is the job of a cop to defend the status quo of whiteness. And this is why we feel that a copwatch is really needed - to mess with the system of white privilege! By documenting police abuse and in turn forcing the police to face its injustices, a serious flaw in the color line will be exposed and, hopefully, stripped of its power. In this way, a step toward rejection of white privilege can be taken. Then and only then can the injustices of capitalism truly be confronted.

The Program
Copwatch demands an end to police brutality, by any means necessary. Copwatch is not affiliated with any law enforcement agency, unlike many so-called civilian review boards that include either cops or appointees lobbied for by police departments. Because of this history, Copwatch is working with Citizens for Improved Community-Police Relations (CICPR), a group that's working toward the creation of citizen-run civilian review boards (no cops) and with full investigative and punitive powers in cases of police abuse of authority.

Copwatch is the civilian review board of the streets. We encourage citizens to join us in exercising everyone's right to observe the police:

Join Copwatch
If you are committed to stopping police abuse and want to participate in our patrols, give Copwatch a call at (602) 241-6353, or write to: P.O. Box 1543 / Phoenix, AZ 85001

...but if you're a cop, save your dime, pig.

Yeppers, I knew I'd heard that rhetoric before.

LawDog

beerslurpy
February 13, 2006, 09:10 AM
So no lock?

Ziryo
February 13, 2006, 12:55 PM
...

To think I thought my Sociology book was written by bitter Conflict Theorists. That puts the entire text to shame.

Well, I guess I learned something new today.

ArmedBear
February 13, 2006, 01:14 PM
The point of interest to us, I believe, is that this group has a one-sided view of ALL police as MOST LIKELY to WANT to go outside the law.


All power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I see nothing at all wrong with viewing those who have been given an incredible amount of power over other citizens with the utmost vigilance and even suspicion. Human nature is not subject to our optimistic wishes, and the consequences to our society, and to individual victims, of lawlessness by law enforcement are dire.

I live near Mexico, so I see what corruption is possible. I also live in San Diego, where a Highway Patrol officer used his position of power to force a 20-year-old woman to pull over and drive to a secluded place so he could kill her. His motive has never been determined, though a probation officer who interviewed him concluded that he was just bored.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0380760096/002-2099467-7556823?v=glance&n=283155

I get along fine with cops I meet. I don't view every person I see with deep suspicion.

But the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. If cops don't understand why their actions are closely monitored and they're not trusted implicitly, they should quit.

LawDog
February 13, 2006, 02:18 PM
It's not the monitoring.

With the latest cell phones and other digital capture devices out there, everyone ought to consider themselves on video whenever they're in public.

I do, however, have to wonder given the rhetoric and philosophy behind CopWatch, if their camera team caught the only evidence which would acquit an officer would they step forward?

After reading some of their literature, I doubt it. And that tends to irritate me a bit.

Personally, I think if Phoenix PD is smart, they'll sub poena the CopWatch folks and their video for each IA investigation, court appearance, probation/parole hearing and civil proceeding. I would.

After all, they are witnesses with video evidence. Why waste this resource?

Sheriff: The county is getting sued for civil rights violation for an arrest you did two years ago.

LawDog: Let me check the arrest sheet...CopWatch video'd that one. Joe Schmuck and Jane Whosis.

D.A.: I'll sub poena them and the tape.

CopWatch: Umm...we reused that tape.

District Judge: No, you didn't "reuse the tape", you "destroyed evidence".

:evil:

Ah, well.

LawDog

ArmedBear
February 13, 2006, 02:22 PM
Agreed LawDog.

I think that it's AT LEAST as important to stand up for cops -- and others -- who are doing the right thing as to catch those who don't.

And this group in AZ is probably the product of a bunch of aging Che-t-shirt-wearing college student anarchist wannabes.

creitzel
February 13, 2006, 03:30 PM
...so it is not surprising that the American system of capitalism is also a system of white privilege that affords many unearned advantages to members of the "white race."...

Did I miss something? Where do I sign up for these "unearned advantages"? They sound like something I might be interested in. :barf:

Pure race baiting tripe, and makes the rest of their objectives suspicious at best.

HankB
February 13, 2006, 03:43 PM
Generally, I see nothing wrong with members of the public filming public servants performing their public duties - I believe honest disclosure of the tapes (always a question if the photgraphers have an agenda) will show proper action by LEOs far more often than improper actions.

I also happen to think there ought to be far more video records of the actions of politicians and bureaucrats than there are now . . . years ago, investigative reporters used to set up "stings" for things like crooked fire inspectors demanding bribes of small businessmen. But I haven't seen one of these in a LONG time . . . and I don't think it's because we're hiring higher grade bureaucrats today.

Coronach
February 13, 2006, 03:50 PM
So no lock?Sounds like a valid civil liberties debate to me.

Mike

Coronach
February 13, 2006, 04:04 PM
With the latest cell phones and other digital capture devices out there, everyone ought to consider themselves on video whenever they're in public.I tell this to my cohorts every day. And it is true; every cell phone out there has at least a camera, most have motion-capture capability and audio. If you're out there with a bunch of PO'ed urban youths, one of them will be recording you. And it will probably happen about the time someone gets on your last nerve and you drop an F-bomb and tell someone to go pound sand.

Understand, most cops are not worried about video surveliance of their uses of force, because most cops know that when they use force it is warranted. What they are worried about are rudeness complaints and fiddling procedural violations. Internal Affairs seems to have a poor track record of differentiating between warranted and unwarranted rudeness, so they take the tack of "if you don't talk like you're addressing Miss Marples' Sunday School class you are out of line." At least that's the way it is around here.

"Sir, would you please refrain from calling me names and step back up on the sidewalk- sir! Listen, you don't even know my parents, so please stop postulating that they were unwed- SIR, I assure you that my mother is a very lovely woman, but I have never engaged in that sort of conduct with her- OH FOR THE LOVE OF *CENSORED* GET YOUR *CENSORED* *CENSORED* BACK UP ON THE *CENSORED* SIDEWALK RIGHT THE *CENSORED* NOW."

Something like that.

Mike

wingnutx
February 13, 2006, 04:42 PM
Running around and filming the police is the latest trend, and while it can be a PITA for the cops, it's generally not a bad thing. Sunshine is good, generally speaking.

Mike

I generally agree. It is funny, though, that most of the same groups that video the cops at demonstrations have been screaming bloody murder about their privacy rights now that the cops have been videoing them right back.

pluvo
February 13, 2006, 06:12 PM
I have absolutely no interest in joining these folks. I was just thinking I might glean some useful info, especially the Q&A with the attorney.

I'd absolutely love to go to something like this sponsored by folks (gunnies :D ) like us.

HankB
February 14, 2006, 08:47 AM
Here's a thought . . . there have been a number of threads lately about BATmen and local LEOs going around and harassing people at gun shows, or doing "residency checks" to see if a person who bought a gun at a show actually lives there . . . wouldn't it be 100% appropriate to start videotaping THESE interactions?

At the next gun show, the sponsors could have a booth running these tapes in a continuous loop on a big-screen TV . . . and once the agents/LEOs were identified, there's a business opportunity - fake "wanted" posters, decks of cards (like we issued in Iraq where Saddam was the Ace of Spades) and so forth and so on. :evil:

buzz_knox
February 14, 2006, 09:06 AM
Lots of knee jerk reactions here. huh? :)

Yes, but not in the way you meant it. There are valid reasons to oppose this group, which have nothing to do with the "thin blue line."

Hey, some hunters are also poachers. We don't judge all hunters by an evil few.

Bad comparison, Art. I've never seen hunters have anything but contempt for poachers. I've seen the opposite with some LEOs (including a famous comment that the worst cop on his worst day was better than an upstanding civilian).

Coronach
February 14, 2006, 09:59 AM
Bad comparison, Art. I've never seen hunters have anything but contempt for poachers. I've seen the opposite with some LEOs (including a famous comment that the worst cop on his worst day was better than an upstanding civilian).So...in a comment where you discount the "don't judge the many by a few" argument you judge the many by the comments of a few? I'm confused. ;)

As to your point:

I dunno. Nothing hacks off a good cop worse than a dirty one.

The problem, I think, comes from the fact that 99% of police "questionable activity" (be it uses of force, shootings, "confiscations", etc) are legit, and cops know this. Furthermore, even when something is out of line, cops know how hard it can be to have to go from full-on fight to "ok, let's handcuff and secure our prisoner all nicey nice" at the drop of a hat. And finally, every cop who is out there doing his job has been accused at least once of excessive force, false arrest, harassment or discrimination, and the officer knows the charges are spurious.

What this translates into is an automatic reaction of "Oh, BULL****!" when someone accuses the police of anything. Prove that the officer in question was dirty or brutal and most cops will fall in line with the rest of the public, but until it has been proven they'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

I'm not immune to this, but I try pretty hard to keep an open mind. You'll note that most of my comments on LEO threads are framed in such a way that it leaves open the possibility of the cop being out of line (which is in direct opposition to the straight-out condemnations of many). I know that most of the time there is an explanation for what happened besides willful murder/brutality/theft, and I'm content to let such things bring themselves to light- and if it turns out the cops are wrong, then shame on 'em.

Mike

Art Eatman
February 14, 2006, 11:22 AM
Aw, buzz just got up too early. Not enough coffee. And, maybe my phrasing wasn't clear to him. No biggie...

:), Art

buzz_knox
February 14, 2006, 12:14 PM
Aw, buzz just got up too early. Not enough coffee. And, maybe my phrasing wasn't clear to him. No biggie...

:), Art

It has been a rather nasty day already, but that wasn't it. What was going through my mind was various conversations on this and other boards where current or former LEOs had said that "they would never question a cop's actions," how every cop, no matter how bad, was better than a civilian, or comparing the public to vicious dogs who might snap at any time.

It's not about discounting the many for the few. It's about some "hunters" going out of their way to defend "poachers" or even to forestall discussions about whether it was poaching to begin with.

Coronach
February 14, 2006, 01:15 PM
Dunno. I've heard a few hunters say that they should be able kill whatever they want. Sounds like advocacy of poaching to me. I understand your point, though I think the analogy doesn't quite work.

Mike

buzz_knox
February 14, 2006, 01:21 PM
Dunno. I've heard a few hunters say that they should be able kill whatever they want. Sounds like advocacy of poaching to me. I understand your point, though I think the analogy doesn't quite work.

Mike

I've been lucky never to hear a hunter say that.

Herself
February 14, 2006, 01:29 PM
I would bet the members of this group are also members of MADD, PETA, Sierra Club, and a ton of Anti-Gun clubs...

And yet, we'll have knuckleheads here supporting them. :rolleyes:
I support all of them -- at least if by "support" you mean allowing them to have their say, at their own expense.

1. They'd be a much larger problem as hidden "underground" organizations.

2. Freedom includes the right to be stupid, wrong or both.

Bad ideas don't make the cut -- sooner or later, one way or another.

...As for keepin' an eye on the police, I think most LEOs are good and decent public servants; and as public servants, they can hardly object to public scrutiny. Do your job acceptably and you can bore the Videotapers to abject tears. Do your job outstandingly and you may even win some admirers. Maybe not. Well, you didn't get into police work to have your ego stroked by the adulation of crowds, did you?

--Herself

MechAg94
February 14, 2006, 01:54 PM
I tend to agree with Law Dog on this one. I have heard one or two interviews with CopWatch people. I think they were trying to start up something here in Houston. Anyway, these people had a chip on their shoulder and were obviously NOT objective whatsoever. I don't trust them to film an entire incident or to avoid editing the incident. The quoted text posted earlier highlights that quite well.

buzz_knox
February 14, 2006, 01:58 PM
The "rather" biased comments by them don't exactly lead one to believe that whatever they do will fairly represent the true events. Video exonerating cops may be "lost" at a minimum.

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