Join Southern Barton Heights Copwatch on Friday July 6th at 8pm 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 July 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 8:30pm, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 804 303 5449 or come to the Copwatch meeting on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7pm at 2005 Barton Avenue