WHO IS COPWATCH?
We are a group of community residents who have become outraged by the escalation of police misconduct, harassment and brutality in recent years. We have no single political or religious belief. Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. What we share is the belief that citizen participation in these issues and monitoring of the police is a crucial first step towards building a movement which is capable of stopping police violence and of challenging the increasingly powerful role of police throughout our society. Although it is important to resist police brutality by taking cops to court, filing complaints and having demonstrations, we believe that it is crucial to be in the streets letting the police know that THE PEOPLE will hold them accountable for their behavior in the community.
We believe police brutality and misconduct is especially widespread in communities of color and that this is due to the long history of white supremacy in this country. For us, the struggle against police brutality is also a struggle against racism.
WHAT COPWATCH DOES?
We have joined together to fight for our rights and the rights of our community by taking on the task of directly monitoring police conduct. Copwatch goes out and videotapes the police as they stop people or pull over their vehicles. We don't interfere with the police but we do record their activities to prevent police brutality and racism. We don't provoke confrontations with the police, but we do support the principles of self-defense against police attacks. We encourage everyone to watch the police and record what they see. Additionally, we provide access and spread information about the public's rights when confronted by the police. Copwatch is completely independent from the police, all other law enforcement agencies, the government, and all political parties.
If you have been a victim of police abuse, witnesses abuse or are just plain fed up with the police and want to do something about it, contact us or come to a meeting. We will train you to COPWATCH. We also need artists, writers, researchers, outreach workers, organizers and others to help. We are an all volunteer group so your help is ALWAYS needed! We meet every Wednesday with the RACUN Community Defense Program at 7pm at the REACH Center, which is located at 684 Redondo Ave. in Long Beach. We can be contacted at 562-434-6934 or email@example.com
RACUN COMMUNITY DEFENSE PROGRAM
The only effective way for our communities to stop the continuous brutality, racism, murder and repression by this system is to establish a revolutionary form of self defense within the community.
It's important that we recognize we live in a country which is the most repressive governments in the world; repressive in communities all over the world. We cannot expect such a repressive government to stand idly by while we move forward to the goal of revolutionary change.
We must learn, and become active in community defense as we cannot rely on the system to protect us from it's own brutality, murder and corruption. We choose not to limit our struggle to a single political arena which limits our capability to further advance our strategy, technique, and capacity as much as needed. We share the philosophy that self-defense resides within a diverse array of tactics, some which are at times more readily exercised than others. However recognizing the importance that all play an important role in defending our right as living beings free from oppression.
Community Defense Program
Cop Watch is a program where people patrol the streets with video cameras ready to document police activity whenever it occurs. The purpose for this is to document police every time they make a stop. If police begin to harass or brutalize civilians, it is caught on film. Cop Watch also sees to notify civilians of their rights to educate them on the brutality and injustice of this system, and how to deal with such situations.
Zone Defense Units
Zone Defense Units are an advancement of Cop Watch; deployed in specific neighborhoods that experience a high level of police repression. Instead of waiting after police violate an individuals rights to confront police abuse, Zone Defense sees to act before-hand by setting up units in specific areas of the community. These specific areas are referred to as "zones". Defense units monitor the zone for any police activity. When police enter designated zones, it is considered a breech, and they are therefore immediately monitored, followed, and documented. Any type of police abuse is immediately confronted as well as documented by defense units. As Cop Watch groups patrol streets usually by vehicle, covering the general area, Zone Defense Units are established on street corners and blocks within neighborhoods remaining centric to a specific area (zone). Cop Watch is well known within the liberal community in the sense that it is used to make sure police are in "good behavior". It's also known within activist communities for documenting police and watching them at all times in order to limit police abuse in our neighborhoods. This strategy is effective, and powerful, however it alone cannot guarantee the removal of police abuse from our communities without guaranteeing the removal of the entire police state. With this in mind the RACUN Community Defense Program sees to further exercise the capacity and capability of community defense in further development with Zone Defense Units.
We hope to provide free public information, classes and workshops on self defense which is not otherwise readily available to the community. Our effort is focused towards a diverse array of self defense tactics and strategies. By learning and studying these strategies and tactics, we hope we can become familiar with self-defense on all levels.
The purpose of the RACUN Community Defense Program is to establish a revolutionary form of self-defense within the community. By establishing various operations throughout the community, we can develop a sense of community control with the disciplinary independence, and self-sufficiency of direct action aimed towards community empowerment. We hope the fullest measure of community defense can prevail so our communities can eventually declare themselves "liberated zones", independent from the repressive jurisdiction of the political and class state.