- Learn what to do before 911 arrives in communities that experience injuries, street and/or domestic violence and are neglected by thesystem. You will learn how to treat seizures and bleeding traumas like stabbings and gunshots.
Refuse to Be Abused
January 5th, 2013 — Uncategorized
January 5th, 2013 — Uncategorized
Police, DOJ to hold series of Community Meetings
Community members, city officials, Vallejo police officers and the Department of Justice have begun a series of community meetings. The first meeting is to be held at the Union Baptist Church, 128 Encerti Ave. Saturday January 12 from 10 AM to NOON. This is the neighborhood where Mario Romero lived and unfortunately died. The meeting is an open public meeting; however, a series of meetings will be held in each Vallejo neighborhood, so it is strongly recommended that you attend the meeting held in YOUR neighborhood to address YOUR neighborhood issues.
Originally posted by the Oscar Grant Committee:
October 19th, 2012 — Uncategorized
Join us at noon for a Know Your Rights Training at the Holdout in Oakland (2313 San Pablo Avenue: walking distance from 19th Street BART).
Learn what your rights are when facing cops, learn how to document police abuse, and share stories and strategies for holding the police accountable and building safer communities, free of police.
Call the Oscar Grant Committee at 510-239-3570 and visit us at www.oscargrantcommittee.weebly.com.
This is a reminder that Berkeley Copwatch will be hosting an event this coming Sunday, April at the Grassroots House. This is the second part in our Civilians’ Investigation Series:
Conducting Reliable Investigations: Workshop with Ali Winston.
12 noon to 2pm.
What are some ways that civilians can research police? When we witness brutality or misconduct involving law enforcement, are there empowering and credible ways to follow up on these incidents? What are effective methods and practices for gathering information and learning about relevant laws and policies? Can we initiate civilian investigations into police department practices? Can we access information or records on individual officers? What are the legal boundaries that need to be acknowledged when doing this kind of research? In this workshop, journalist Ali Winston will discuss the current climate that allows departments and individual officers to act under a cloak of legal and procedural protections. He will go over effective investigation strategies towards collecting evidence and following up on police misconduct. This will lead into a discussion about these issues, and next steps forward.
The Berkeley Copwatch Civilian Investigations workshop series is collectively imagined with numerous activists and stakeholders. We hope these conversations will generate new ideas and strategies for holding police accountable, and to build civilian power to address policing issues in all of our communities.
Ali Winston is journalist who has reported extensively on law enforcement in the Bay Area. His work addresses misconduct, corruption, brutality, racism, surveillance, gang injunctions, federalization, use of force, the Occupy movement, and other policing issues, both spectacular and every day. His work in Oakland draws important connections between the police, city hall, and business owners, and he also addresses the role of federal law enforcement in local policing issues. Ali currently writes for the East Bay Bay Express, and his work has appeared across many papers and sites. For a serious stretch of cutting edge reporting for The Informant, he wrote almost exclusively on local policing issues, creating an archive of policing practices that included original raw documents–policies, memos, reports and other documents directly from the departments that use force against us. This work has had a significant impact on public awareness, understanding, and action in the Bay Area, and we are delighted Ali will be joining us this Sunday.
Hope to see you there.
Grassroots House is located at 2022 Blake Street, 10 minute walk from Downtown Berkeley BART
See Ali’s work in Colorlines:
December 4th, 2011 — Uncategorized
Learn how to document police abuse, how to stay safe and know what your rights
are while you are doing it. This training is open to all who want to know their rights
either just to keep safe or to begin helping to keep your neighborhood safe. Oakland
Crowd Control policy and mutual aid will also b discussed.
The Training will also include: practice role-plays, hands on practice, and practical
tools for protestors and observers. All of which will be fun and inspiring.
Please join us and help keep the police in check and our neighborhoods safe.
December 10 @ 11am-2pm
2022 Blake Street Berkeley, CA
email@example.com (510) 548-0425
July 20th, 2011 — Uncategorized
Surf City Revolt writes:
News of “Predictive Policing” first surfaced around the new year. Hailed as the next generation of policing, it seeks to direct police resources to “times and places” where there is a greater likelihood of crime being committed. Sometime in January, the Santa Cruz Police Department finished submitting crime reports from the last eight years to George Mohler, a mathematics professor at Santa Clara University. Santa Cruz is the first city in the nation to embrace this model. In Mohler’s own words: ”The more you put police in areas where there is more crime, the more efficiently you’re policing the city.” The Sentinel article about SCPD’s adoption of the program can be found here. In this article, rather than rehashing what has already been said, we will emphasize the unstated significance of predictive policing and point towards ways to frustrate, antagonize, or just operate within a town that will try to predict your crime before you commit it.
New Smell, Same Shit
Since at least some future police reports will be a product of predictive policing, while the analytics that power predictive policing are fed by prior police reports, it is likely that the predictive policing will create reinforcing feedback loops. As predictive policing recognizes a concentration of criminal activity, it will direct police resources towards that concentration. The concentration can be geographical, like the Bonesio’s Parking Lot, and also have a temporal dimension, like closing time. By directing police patrols towards these locations, the police can harass, detain, or arrest people more efficiently. Their actions result in police reports that get funneled back into the predictive policing analytics, further concentrating crime in these already targeted areas.
By targeting places where crime is already reported, predictive policing increases social division: bad neighborhoods are further ghettoized, while pressure it taken off good neighborhoods. Kids in the upper westside take “d-methamphetamine” (marketed as Deoxsyn for ADHD) to get high and feel good, while those trapped in desperate circumstances smoke dirty crystal for the same reasons. One group is mostly ignored by police, while the other is criminalized. Predictive policing further concentrates police pressure on the more targeted group. This is not to say that the ideal solution is some equitable form of policing, only that existing social divisions are further sharpened by this program.
At least some of the inspiration for predictive policing comes from the success of computer analytics in determining the actions of consumers. As Police Chief Magazine reports:
Advanced analytics are used in almost every segment of society to improve service and optimize resources. Some examples include customer loyalty programs that track purchases and provide specifically targeted coupons that are based on recent or related purchases and algorithms that create models of customer preferences and recommend products to similar customer groups.
In every corner of our lives, data is being collected about us and our actions. These data storehouses have been utilized to sell us consumer goods tailored to our specific tastes. Now, these databases are becoming fodder for the predictive policing analytics. In a Department of Justice bulletin on Community-Oriented Policing, the first “tool” listed in a “predictive policing toolbox” was to: “Identify data from other agencies (e.g., schools and hospitals) that may be useful for predictive policing analyses”. Predictive Policing might be the bridge between the warehousing of personal and relational data and the always-tightening clampdown of social control. Advanced analytics, of course, have always been part of the police toolkit, but until now they have been reserved for large operations, usually run by federal agencies. Now, the same techniques are becoming available at local levels.
As these techniques trickle down to local agencies, coupled with Jerry Brown’s restructuring towards local government, police are realizing that “community” initiatives are of increasing importance. If the police are going to be on your block constantly, they want to do it with a smiling face. Put differently, they want to avoid being a target for the antagonism they deserve.
Defenders of predictive policing say that it doesn’t target individuals, only locations. But you’d be blind if you couldn’t see that different areas are defined by the presence of different social groups. For instance, one distinct group of people hangs out on the Pasatiempo Golf Course while another hangs out outside the laundromat on Barson St. This new advance in policing is only a new excuse to do what police have always done: reinforce class divisions and quarantine “undesirable” social groups.
Responding to Predictive Policing
One clear way to avoid or frustrate the mechanisms of predictive policing is to follow the good ol’ criminal adage–Don’t shit where you eat. By taking crime out of the neighborhoods where we live, perhaps we can lessen the pressure on those places. One study of predictive policing found a correlation with the number of housing code violations in a neighborhood and the amount of burglary. Basically, people were burglarizing poor neighborhoods, which rationalized a police presence in those places. By decreasing “broke-on-broke crime“, we are also fighting an increase of police patrols. For an interesting primer on how rich people defend against burglary, we here at SCR would recommend Jack MacLean’s Secrets of a Superthief. He robbed exclusively from rich neighborhoods and did it with mad style.
Beyond doing crime intelligently, we also have the capacity to disrupt the community aspects of policing. While there are infinite possibilities for this, here are three interesting departure points for you and your crew. The friendly face of community policing is sugary icing on a cake of shit. It’s important to show the entire idea of “policing” as rotten at its core and to fight police attempts to insert themselves into neighborhood dialogue.
First, the local example. On March 13th, about 60 folks got together at Grant St. Park to barbecue “for a world without police.” There was a free wall for graffiti, dank grub, and an awesome Know Your Rights workshop. By initiating conversations in the places we live, we can clarify our own position and make friends with our neighbors who feel similarly.
Secondly, we can disrupt the police department’s attempts to legitimize itself. In Modesto, comrades staged a disruption of a police accreditation meeting. At a time when the MPD was attempting to pat itself on the back, people made sure everyone remembered that the MPD were murderers.
Lastly, comrades in Vancouver, BC, took space back from Community Policing efforts with a concerted vandalism campaign. Eventually, the community policing center was forced to relocate. Community police forces can often act as the vanguard of gentrification, making a place more digestible to yuppies. Here is one of many ways that activity directed against the police intersects with other struggles.
Obviously, different forms of resistance are applicable to different contexts. Santa Cruz is the pilot city for a program that has the potential to change the shape of modern policing. With our shoulder to the wheel, let’s make it a failure.
Early in the morning of March 14, 2010, Mr. Justin Bentley was arrested in the small Northern California town of Orland. There are a number of curious, and downright suspicious, factors involving his arrest and the incidents that led to it.
Depending on which police account you favor, Mr. Bentley was stopped while driving his car…or he was stopped while walking. You would think it would be hard to confuse the two. In any event, Mr. Bentley was detained about 11:20pm by Officer Kyle Cessna (who suffers from vertigo, and is, despite this condition, allowed to continue on the Orland police force, but we’ll get to that later).
During the course of this stop, allegedly, some sort of physical altercation between Mr. Bentley and Officer Cessna began. The details also – you guessed it – depend which version of the story you believe the officer is telling, and the prosecution is arguing. There are substantial inconsistencies all throughout the various “official” versions of this story. The detail that first drew our attention in this case was that Mr. Bentley was Tased multiple times in his face. This is an incredibly dangerous and unnecessary thing to do to somebody, and it is disturbing that police officers would use Tasers in this way, which is purely punitive and sadistic.
One aspect of this stop that highly suspicious, and indeed, disturbing, is that Officer Cessna DID NOT notify dispatch that he was engaging in a stop. The first radio message from Officer Cessna was an officer emergency call. Firstly, police officers, as a matter of policy, always radio in their location, and situation, when they stop somebody. The idea behind this is that if something goes the wrong way for the officer making the stop, other officers know what’s going on, and where to show up. This holds even truer at night. Secondly, if he thought Mr. Bentley was a serious threat, as he stated, why did he not make a radio call then, instead of after Mr. Bentley allegedly tried to kill him?
So, why did Officer Cessna not radio in that he was making contact with Mr. Bentley? Allegedly there was a stop, then a fight, and Officer Cessna does not tell anybody anything until he was, allegedly, on the ground, injured, with someone who he says tried to kill him was running away?
The certain explanation for this is that this stop was retaliatory, and this is our hypothesis. Prior to this event, police had twice targeted Mr. Bentley. On one occasion, he had been mistakenly identified as a shoplifter. He went to the police station to help clear the matter up, and while at the police station, accidentally spilled water on a desk, wetting papers. Although he was cleared of the shoplifting suspicion, he was charged with attempting to destroy evidence. When he went before a judge, the charge was not only dismissed, but the judge dressed-down the prosecution for bringing such a case.
Following this wet-papers incident, he was stopped in his vehicle by a police officer, who, although Mr. Bentley had his registration, cited him for not having his registration. After this incident, Mr. Bentley attempted to file a complaint at the police department. He was prevented from filing a complaint. This was three days before he was arrested.
So, following all of this police mayhem (remember, they like to call themselves “law-enforcement”), Mr. Bentley is now in jail, awaiting trial on several charges. Initially charged with attempted murder upon a peace officer – among other things – he is now charged with premeditated murder. Officer Cessna states that Mr. Bentley grabbed his gun, and Taser. Okay, except that Mr. Bentley’s fingerprints aren’t on either of these. It is clear that Mr. Bentley did not touch either the gun or Taser.
In piecing together the various, and conflicting, stories, the situation becomes even more problematic. Officer Cessna states that he fired his Taser at Mr. Bentley, but it didn’t work. Okay, but why was Officer Cessna’s Taser wire, according to one officer’s statement, “…wrapped up in his gear.” How does Officer Cessna get Taser wire in his equipment if he was firing away from himself?
Remember Officer Cessna’s vertigo? Vertigo is a medical condition where one becomes dizzy, can become disoriented, and can feel like they, or the world, is spinning. Is it possible that Officer Cessna was going to unlawfully harass Mr. Bentley, started a physical altercation with him, became disoriented, and instead of Tasing Mr. Bentley, Tazed himself? Did his head start spinning, and he started shooting his gun while laying in the street post-self-Tasing? Did he have to concoct a completely incomprehensible story – several times, with substantially different details – to cover the fact that he is a bad cop, ethically, and practically?
His handgun was fired three times. Two bullets haven’t been recovered, and one of them was fired through a house window, through a kitchen doorway, ending up in a wall above a sink. According to a forensic report, the handgun was less than a foot off the ground when the bullet was fired.
What do we have? It looks like a police officer retaliating against a citizen who has on two previous occasions acted to lawfully protect his rights. Officer ends up Tasing himself, firing a gun through somebody’s window, and two others who knows where. Mr. Bentley ends up with Taser burns all over his face, and is now fighting very serious, and baseless charges, that may cost him decades in prison.
June 9th, 2011 — Uncategorized
The Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant is mobilizing a protest march on
SUNDAY, JUNE 12 at 3 pm at Fruitvale BART station (Oscar Grant Station!).
Be prepared to march to 14th & Broadway. There will be a rally there at 5:30pm.
WE NEED COPWATCHERS TO ACCOMPANY THE MARCH. We need folks who can video and
provide that kind of protection. If you want to help with security for the
march, contact Berkeley Copwatch. PLease spread the word and please be there this Sunday. Berkeley Copwatch
will be there at noon for security training then will go to Fruitvale BART to
help with that.