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Cop Watch Los Angeles

Joaquin Cienfuegos


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Cop Watch is a North American activist network dedicated to monitoring and documenting police brutality and harassment in various cities. Although the first group to call itself “Copwatch” emerged in Berkeley, California in 1990, the tactic of using citizen patrols to observe the conduct of the police can be traced to the Black Panthers , the Brown Berets, the Los Angeles Chapter of the SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), and the Deacons for Defense and Justice in the South. The activities of Cop Watch chapters range from photographing, videotaping, and publicizing instances of police abuse and harassment, to holding “Know Your Rights” workshops and other events to arm people with information about their own communities, as well as to develop alternatives to policing and prisons. While some chapters have non-interference policies when it comes to police and are largely focused on the watching part, other Cop Watch groups have taken a more militant stance. Cop Watch LA (CWLA) is one such group that extends its activities beyond passive observation. According to its mission statement: CWLA is a program dedicated to the struggle that will end police terrorism through collecting information on and observing police activity, by offering support to those caught in the criminal injustice system, fighting for change without a reformist consciousness, and working side-by-side ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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