Posts Tagged ‘richmond copwatch’

The Richmond Police Department, like most police departments, routinely breaks the law, behaves in racist ways, and engages in acts of brutality against the public.

In the past week we have seen or heard of 3 incidents of police brutality. Anyone with video footage of police brutality is highly encouraged to email us a copy or a link at wingnut_collective@yahoo.com

Anyone who wants tips on how to copwatch or on your rights when dealing with the police is also encouraged to get in touch. The Wingnut Anarchist Collective started Richmond Copwatch about 3 years ago. We no longer have a formal Copwatch organization (though if you are interested let us know), but we still have the capacity to host workshops, come to you and your organization with a workshop, and of course to observe and record the police in Richmond and every where we go.

Here is a link to a story about an incident that occurred in Gilpin Court, a nearby neighborhood: http://www.nbc12.com/story/21997791/richmond-community-claims-excessive-police-force-during-arrest

We have also heard that a man in Southern Barton Heights was beaten up by the police this week, and some of us were a witness to a man getting tazed at Harrison and Grace St. on Saturday night.

If you have video or pictures of the police tazing, beating, harassing, stop and frisking, etc. please send it to us! The more people who watch and record the police on a regular basis the less bullshit they can get away with. These are our neighborhoods, let’s take them back from the biggest most violent gang in Richmond- the Police Department.

Watch the Cops Richmond!!

If you see the cops- tweet about it!

 

  1. Get a free account on twitter.com
  2. Sync your account with your cell phone, enabling you to send tweets from your phone.
  3. Follow @rvacopwatch on twitter to see what the cops in Richmond, VA are up to
  4. When you see the cops, send a tweet, starting with @rvacopwatch
  5. Send identifying info like the license plates of cop cars, cop names and code numbers, location where they are, and a description of what they are doing.
  6. Your tweet will be displayed on the @rvacopwatch feed, allowing everyone who follows @rvacopwatch to keep up to date on where the cops are, what they are doing, and which ones are doing it!!

 

For more information, email sbhcopwatch@gmail.com or call 804 303 5449 or check online at www.wingnutrva.org about copwatch trainings, patrols, and events!

Richmond Copwatcher and member of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective, Mo Karn, was detained, arrested, and ticketed in May while Copwatching for standing on the sidewalk of Barton Avenue.

You can read more about the original incident here: http://wingnutrva.org/2012/05/17/first-richmond-copwatch-ticket-for-standing-on-the-sidewalk/

The arraignment was on May 31st, and a court date was set for July 31st.

Please come out to support Mo and Richmond Copwatch, and to stand up to bully cops, on July 31st at 11am in Judge Cheeks’ court room at 920 Hull St in the Manchester Court Building.

You can’t bring cell phones, weapons, food, etc., but you CAN bring a sketchpad and pencil to draw and record the court proceedings. We ask that you do so.

A group of us were on the porch of the Wingnut when we saw a RPD cruiser stop to pull over a young man of color who was walking down Barton Avenue. They stopped him with the excuse that he was walking in the street, but this was a very clear use of racial profiling and “stop and frisk” type policing. We grabbed our Copwatch video camera, and walked down the block to film the incident. We did not have the camera recording our full approach, and were unable to get video of the police frisking the man, though some of us did witness it.

One officer, M Godwin, was fairly aggressive about not allowing Copwatcher Mo to stand on the public sidewalk. A car pulled up Home St. while the RPD cops had their cruiser parked in the middle of Barton Avenue, completely obstructing the road. The folks in the car asked very politely if the police could move the cruiser so they could get by, since Barton is a one way street and they couldn’t turn the other way. The police ignored them.

When the police were done harassing our neighbor, they drove off. We started to head back to the house, when someone noticed they had gone down a few blocks and stopped another young man of color. We did not witness the initial stop, so can’t say for sure what excuse they used for detaining him while they ran his ID.

The person they detained said this was the 3rd time he has been randomly stopped by the cops this week. If you listen carefully you can hear him say this in the video. The amount of police and police harassment in Southern Barton Heights is why we started Copwatch 2 years ago. Unfortunately the cops still engage in racial profiling, harassment, brutality, and many other behaviors which hurt the community.

Again, we approached the scene to film and observe. Both times we were not asked to leave the scene, or even to step back from the scene. During the second incident, Officer Godwin again approached Mo and told her that she couldn’t stand on the sidewalk. He did not say anything about people standing on the grass just as close, or anything about his scene, officer safety etc. He was very clearly just trying to harass Mo.

At one point Mo tried to walk past the RPD Cops who were very clearly blocking the sidewalk. The cops stopped Mo and refused to let her go by. Later, a woman and a child walked up the sidewalk, easily past Mo who was allegedly obstructing the sidewalk, and through the scene without a problem.

Officer Godwin told Mo to move off of the sidewalk repeatedly. Mo told him repeatedly that she was legally allowed to be on the public sidewalk. He eventually demanded Mo’s ID and stomped off to write a citation. Officer Godwin was not stopping anyone from standing in the grass next to the sidewalk, or just as close to the scene as Mo was. After he wrote Mo the citation she walked back to where they had been standing before on the sidewalk. (The young man the RPD had detained was STILL at this point being held by the police, so there was more copwatching to do).

Officer Godwin then threatened to give Mo 5 seconds to get off the sidewalk or else he would take Mo to lockup. However, when Mo answered a phone call he walked off.

Mo’s summons says it is for violation of Law Section 18.2-404 102.2 and the charge is described as “Obstructing Free Passage”. This is a criminal charge- a first degree misdemeanor.

Mo’s court date is Thursday May 31st at 9am at the Manchester general district court at 920 Hull St. on Richmond’s southside. Supporters are encouraged to come out on the 31st to support Mo, and Richmond Copwatch, as well as the right of people to stand on the sidewalk.

If you are interested in learning how to do Copwatch, we can teach you! We also do Know Your Rights trainings, which we recomend to eveyone. Fortunately the majority of the time Copwatchers do not get threatened with arrest, and risk levels to be taken are up to every individual copwatcher and copwatching group.  Feel free to get in touch if you are interested in learning how to copwatch, know your rights trainings, our copwatch First Fridays Patrols, or anything else copwatch related. sbhcopwatch@gmail.com or 804  303 5449 or come by 2005 Barton Avenue on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7pm for the Copwatch Meeting!

UPDATE: Since for whatever reason the story about the Wingnut/Richmond Copwatch using FOIA to get files from the Richmond Police Department is hot now on the internet, we are reposting this request for help.

The police refuse to send us these files.
We are asking for your help.
Please, if you already have these files send us copies. If you have the time/interest, submit a FOIA request of your own for all or part of the following.

We are also interested in any and all government documents you might have pertaining to Virginia, Virginia police (and protocols), FBI and Virginia activist organizations and anarchists etc.

Email us at wingnut_collective@yahoo.com for more info/ if you have the files!

Richmond Copwatch has had an ongoing FOIA request with the Richmond Police Department since January. We were requesting the 2nd half of the documents of police protocols that we did not get the first time we made a request. Since that time the Richmond Police Department has violated the Virginia Freedom of Information Act numerous times. They have a 200 dollar deposit from us, and they are also saying that so far the costs are over 900 dollars. Their lack of communication and compliance make it clear that they are giving us the run around.

You might remember our FOIA Fun back in January- which you can read about here: http://wingnutrva.org/2011/01/04/foiad-again/

We clearly have reason to believe that the police department is refusing to follow the law with this FOIA request because of who we are. We have filed a complaint in court, but VA FOIA law is very limited in its ability to hold government agencies accountable, even if they wanted to.

Since it is taking so long, we were wondering if anyone out there had already used FOIA to get these files. The list of titles we are interested in are below. If you have the time, it would also be awesome if people wanted to submit their own FOIA requests to the Richmond Police Department for these files. However, we would love to take a look at any files people have FOIA’d from the Richmond Police Department. If you have them online, please email them to wingnut_collective@yahoo.com or you can mail a hard copy to Richmond Copwatch 2005 Barton Avenue Richmond, VA 23222 If you have a copy of any of these files that we can borrow that would be great so we can copy and scan them.

These are all sections from the General Orders Index of the Richmond Police Department. We only need the sections listed here, as we have previously received all of the other sections.
1-08
1-09
1-10
1-11
1-12
2-01
2-02
2-03
2-04
2-05
2-06
2-07

More of the documents we need after the break…
(more…)

Henrico Police shot and seriously wounded an upset and allegedly bipolar man Thursday afternoon (April 26) off of Three Chopt Road.

Multiple neighbors who witnessed this event have already come forward to speak out against this instance of police brutality. They describe the situation where Allen Skeens posed no threat to the officers, and where the cops shot him in the chest as a first attempt at detaining him.

This picture was taken by Heather Powell, thanks!

Our hearts go out to the friends and family of Allen Skeens. We hope he has a swift and full recovery

This instance is a great example of why Copwatching is so important. If it were not for the multiple neighbors who were brave enough to stay and observe and take photos of this situation, it might not be so clear that Allen Skeens was brutally attacked by the police today. Too often the only side of the story heard in these circumstances is that of the police.

Please observe and record the police whenever you can, and get other people to stay with you. If you would like a training on how to do this in a more safe way and how to protect your rights, please get in touch with us at sbhcopwatch [at] gmail.com or 804 303 5449.

Video footage of interviews with some witnesses as well as 3 pictures taken by one of them are available here: http://wtvr.com/2012/04/26/graphic-warning-pics-of-police-involved-shooting/

Join Southern Barton Heights Copwatch on Friday May 4th at 7pm to participate in a Copwatch Patrol of the First Fridays Artwalk on Broad Street.

Meet at 422 West Broad, in front of the Made RVA General Store.

Bring cameras- video or still, cell phones, flashlights or headlamps, water and snacks if you have them. Please dress for the weather and with shoes you are comfortable walking around in for a couple of hours.

If you are able to, we recommend that you get in touch with Copwatch ahead of time for a Know Your Rights training and a brief How to Copwatch training. We will coordinate groups for that evening, and also arrange for a group debriefing at the end of the night.

August of 2011 was the first month we did an official patrol of the First Fridays event (after over a year of doing Copwatch in Richmond), and one Copwatcher had a tazer put in their face by a Richmond Cop. In September, a smaller patrol went out and was assaulted and harassed by the Richmond police, culminating in one member of Copwatch being arrested at the end of the night on bogus charges. We refuse to be intimidated by the illegal actions of the Richmond Police Department. The aggressive, illegal, and unprofessional behavior of the Richmond Police Department as a whole, simply goes to show the necessity of Copwatch, and the regular observing and recording of a police force as long as one exists. Beyond that the continued violent and oppressive behavior of many members of the Richmond Police Department goes to show the systemic nature of problems with police- problems that will be solved not through reform, but through abolition. As long as the police congregate on Broad Street to oppress and antagonize largely youth of color in order to maintain the gentrifying aspects of the First Fridays Artwalk, Copwatch will be there.

In May we will be doing patrols of this event, cameras in hand. If you are interested in joining us for the patrol, please get in touch, so we know how many cameras and other equipment to bring out with us. We will start patrols around 7:30pm, and keep going until everyone is tired. We will try to make ourselves visible for folks who might just want to have conversations through out the night.

This will be a chance for folks who have never experienced Copwatch to talk with experienced copwatchers and get some training as to how to safely observe and record the police.

You can get in touch at sbhcopwatch@gmail.com or 804 303 5449 or come to the Copwatch meeting on the 4th Tuesday of each month  at 7pm at 2005 Barton Avenue

The Wingnut Anarchist Collective has a new Vimeo account, a site where we can post our videos from Copwatch, meetings, protests, shows, and more.

Wingnut Vimeo

We are getting better about both recording and actually uploading our videos. This new account allows us to upload longer sections of video. So make sure you keep an eye on our Vimeo account to stay up to date and in the loop.

If you are having a meeting/protest/event and want it to be recorded and made public, let us know so we can bring a camera along with us.

The February Copwatch meeting will be held on Tuesday the 28th at 7pm at the Wingnut, 2005 Barton Avenue.

We will be discussing goals, strategy, copwatch protocol, and organizational structure for a city-wide Copwatch network.

Other agenda items may include:

fundraising, First Friday Patrols, Shockoe Bottom Patrols, How to Copwatch a Protest trainings, How to Copwatch trainings, Know Your Rights trainings, etc.

Come find out how you can start a branch of copwatch in your own neighborhood!

…Anyone with an interest in monitoring the police and holding them accountable for their actions is welcome to come. Bring yourself, your friends, and lots of ideas!

Have you ever felt like your rights were violated by the police? Have you ever seen bad behavior from the police? Want to find ways to build stronger communities that are protected from the police? Check out Richmond Copwatch!

Richmond Copwatch is a non-hierarchical organization dedicated to ending police abuse. We believe that monitoring and recording police interactions with community members is a vital first step towards ensuring accountability and protecting ourselves and our communities. We are committed to anti-authoritarian principles and seek to transform the nature of the police and explore alternative methods of community conflict resolution.

Come out to a Richmond Copwatch Meeting, on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 7pm at the Wingnut Anarchist Collective, 2005 Barton Avenue.
Email sbhcopwatch@gmail.com or call 804 303 5449 for more info. Details about our workshops, patrols, and special events can be found online at www.wingnutrva.org

You can email the Southern Barton Heights branch of Richmond Copwatch at sbhcopwatch@gmail.com

The Student Alliance for Sexual Diversity is hosting a Know Your Rights Workshop by Southern Barton Heights Copwatch on Thursday February 16th at 7pm. This will be taking place in room THC 327 on the main U of R Campus in Richmond’s West End.

Join SBH (Southern Barton Heights) Copwatch for a Know Your Rights Workshop

This workshop will help participants learn the basics of asserting their rights when dealing with the police. We highly recommend this workshop for EVERYONE. But especially anyone who engages in… any level of political protest or demonstrations.This workshop consists of skits that are performed by Copwatch members and then edited by participants from the audience. We encourage participation, questions, and dialogue around the topics covered in the skit. We are not lawyers, but we are able to provide useful information about a lot of legal questions.

For more information about this workshop or SBH Copwatch or if you are interested in having us come to your organization with a workshop  you can call 804 303 5449 or email sbhcopwatch@gmail.com

SBH Copwatch is a non-hierarchical organization dedicated to ending police abuse. We believe that monitoring and recording police interactions with community members is a vital first step towards ensuring accountability and protecting ourselves and our communities. We are committed to anti-authoritarian principles and seek to transform the nature of the police and explore alternative methods of community conflict resolution.