Sacramento Copwatch

Policing the Police

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Goals of Sacramento Copwatch

This is an incomplete list of goals for Sacramento Copwatch, goals built on Copwatch principles outlined further down in this post. Over time and after certain events transpire, our goals evolve and we evolve to modify them. There is no hierarchy of importance in how these goals are numbered. If you have any thoughts or competing perspectives on these issues, please, we encourage you to comment below.

1) REDUCE POLICE VIOLENCE: Copwatch aims to reduce the potential for police violence by directly observing the police and documenting their interactions with the public. By doing this, Copwatch acts as a deterrent to the cops, meaning our presence alone is enough to substantially decrease the likelihood of the police using their power to physically abuse citizens. The more citizens stop to watch the police, the less likely they are to be violent- it’s as simple as that. In general, being watched and videotaped serves the purpose of deterring any illegal behavior, for both citizens and police alike.

2) EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ABOUT RIGHTS: Through Know Your Rights trainings, as well as Police Observation trainings, which are held on a monthly basis in community spaces, Copwatch seeks to educate citizens about their legal and constitutional rights. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware that they have certain rights, and in such cases, they are vulnerable and susceptible to the violation of these rights by the police, who pick up on this.

However, Copwatch does not claim to know what is best for others, nor does it intentionally patronize others by coming at them from a moral and academic position of superiority when trying to educate and inform. Rather, Copwatch seeks to cooperatively work with people in our community to give them specialized instruction in how to combat police misconduct, which is through knowing our rights and how to observe the police. When we know our rights, and when we know how to observe the police, we empower ourselves and are less likely to be exploited and more likely to keep our community safe.

In addition, Copwatch also aims to educate citizens about the role of police in our society, how they are tied to race and class, the power structures that are maintained by the police, how police protect the socio-economic-political interests of the ruling class, and finally causes of police brutality. These are all fundamental issues to address if we ever want to reduce police brutality and the oppressive role of police in our society. The first step is empowering ourselves through education.

3) HOLD THE POLICE ACCOUNTABLE: Copwatch can serve as an informal regulatory board that documents police conduct and will assertively report any wrongdoings to the police commission so that justice can be served to all. The police is a fraternity, with its members in solidarity with one another because of the nature of the job. Just like soldiers of war, they stick together because of the constant threat of violence, injury and death. In general, most police forces only have an Internal Affairs regulatory agency, which of course is inherently bias, since you cannot check yourself impartially, nor are you willing to punish those you work with, many of whom you are personally close with. Because of the inherent bias in how police behavior is regulated, investigated and punished in the police force, there needs to be an external agency that regulates their behavior and holds them accountable for their actions. What is needed in Sacramento, then, is a Police Review Commission (PRC), independent of the Sacramento Police Department, to investigate citizen complaints against the police. If the police department won’t thoroughly investigate citizen complaints or follow up on them, then we will. Copwatch supplies Incident Report Forms to community members and citizens in the event that they want to file a complaint against the police, and we will help facilitate the processing of that complaint to the right party.

In a sense, Copwatch polices the police. So, just as the police try to make sure that civilians are not doing anything illegal, Copwatch tries to make sure that the police aren’t doing anything illegal. We are all subject to a specific set of laws. Although limited in our power, resources and presence in the eyes of the law, Copwatch can serve some regulatory functions on a small, yet effective scale.

4) PROVIDE SUPPORT TO VICTIMS: Copwatch also seeks to provide support to victims through legal information, access to affordable or free lawyers (National Lawyers Guild), community backing and financial help.

5) CREATE SELF-RELIANT COMMUNITIES: By creating solidarity through education and knowledge that we are all in this struggle for peace and justice together, we will grow closer and build community support for each other. In the event that there is a dispute or fight, we will have the strength to confront our problems ourselves and work through these issues, instead of relying on the cops to play peacemaker for us.


5 Responses to “Goals”

  1. jjoshuajj21 said

    When the P.O.S.T Board refused to investigate or even acknowledge racial discrimination by the entire police force, what happens next >>> <<<

    • cadburyjedi, john h. said

      not sure what you’re asking. can you rephrase the question?

      thanks for the link by the way.

      • jjoshuajj21 said

        Well, I filed a complaint with the police officers standards and training board, the coordinator refused to even read the comlaint, let alone investigate, so with such a blantant disregard for the rights of others, I was wondering what could a person do as a next step-?- Corruption knows no boundary or integrity!

      • cadburyjedi, john h. said


        thanks for the comment. sorry it took me so long to get back to you. we recently had a copwatch event, so i’ve been busy. anyway, if they’ve continued to ignore you, the best thing you can do is speak to a “superior” of that individual. tell the superior that the coordinator was unresponsive to your claim and that speaks volumes about the transparency and accountability of the institution you’re dealing with. this doesn’t sound like a democratic institution. another route you can go is to contact the office of public safety accountability. ask to speak with francine (although she’ll be out of town next week). they have more power than individuals, so she might be able to help you lodge a complaint. this is for sacramento, right?

        thanks again for your concern.

  2. jjoshuajj21 said

    Here is the latest! This is the newest standard of liability for police misconduct. It’s a tangled web of legal manipulation, but once you understand it, you’ve got them by the BA**s >>> <<<<

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