Redwood Curtain CopWatch, based in the north coast of California, is part of a larger movement of self organized CopWatch groups throughout the US. Our local efforts seek to intervene in the drastic rise of the presence, militarization, and violence of the police, and build support networks based on self-determination, caring, and concrete needs.
We are dedicated to grass-roots struggle to end the aggressive role of police in and against our communities.Learn more about what we do >>
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The Prison System As We Know It
& What You Can Do About It
LAURA MAGNANI, a nationally known expert on solitary confinement,
of American Friends Service Committee
KEVAN INSKO of FCLCA, a nonpartisan, statewide public interest lobby founded by Quakers
Arcata Presbyterian Church, 11th and G St., Arcata
Do your children?
Are you tired of your rights being violated?
This workshop focuses on the law "on the street" -what your rights are and how cops try to trick you out of them.
We want to share strategies to survive police encounters.
The Murder of Kelly Thomas
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
This is what happened to Kelly Thomas.
These are the officers who did it.
UPDATE (01/14/14): Officers Found “Not Guilty” Despite Footage of Them Beating Kelly Thomas to Death
Unbelievably — but not surprisingly — the officers have been found “not guilty,” according to reports.
A jury has found them not guilty on all charges, despite the overwhelming video evidence.
A third officer, Joseph Wolfe, was also accused of involuntary manslaughter, but the DA has now dropped the charges in light of the not guilty verdict.
The verdict has sparked outrage across the nation.
As one commenter puts it, “I’m ashamed that this is what our country has belittled itself to.”
UPDATE (01/15/14): Cop Who Bragged About Beating Thomas “Wants His Job Back”
Officer Cicinelli, who was seen on video pounding Kelly Thomas’s face with the butt of his taser, has now petitioned to get his job back with the police department.
Cicinelli was on the forefront of the murder of Thomas and was named as one of the primary assailants, according to reports.
After the beating, he is also quoted as bragging “”I got the end of my Taser and I probably, just probably smashed his face to hell.”
A digital recorder also caught him saying, “”I fucking beat him probably 20 times in the face with this Taser.”
After being found “not guilty,” Cicinelli is now doubling down and attempting to get his job back, hoping to fund himself with money from hard-working Americans.
If he gets his way, he will be armed once again and set free to roam around in our neighborhoods.
by Asar Imhotep Amen aka Troy Thomas
I do not accept the common usage of the term “crime.” Why? Crime is not solely the violation of legal codes. It encompasses behavior that violates human rights. But beyond the legal understandings, crime shatters relationships, both social – including political and economic – and interpersonal.
Substance abuse and prostitution, activities defined as against the law, certainly impact the lives and the rights of others but could be addressed more effectively outside the criminal justice system. Crime is a relative matter that changes with the disposition of legislative bodies.
Homicide is typically considered a crime unless the perpetrator acted in self-defense, by reason of insanity, or “in the line of duty” as a member of a police force, a legal execution team or a military body. Indeed, soldiers might be criminally liable for refusing to kill on order – or for refusing to register with selective service.
It is considered criminal behavior to lie under oath, but otherwise lying is lawful for everyone from presidents to common folk. It is illegal to speak about classified documents, and it is illegal not to speak before grand juries – unless the speaking would involve self-incrimination, in which case it becomes legal not to speak (unless one has been granted immunity from prosecution, in which case it becomes illegal not to speak!).
In short, everything from killing (or refusing to kill) to speaking (or refusing to speak) is or is not a crime, depending on the widest range of circumstances. So divorced is civil law from moral reflection that we barely blink when presidents somberly intone that we have to stop violence in America, while as a nation “we” spend thousands of dollars a minute building bombs.
Federal Lawsuit Charges Sheriff’s Deputy Unconstitutionally Killed
The October 22 killing here of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a hail of bullets from sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus has resulted in daily peaceful marches, prayer vigils and speaking events honoring Lopez and calling for justice, as thousands in the northern California community continue to mourn and express outrage.
The killing has also this week led to a federal civil rights lawsuit being filed on behalf of the Lopez family. “There is a practice of using deadly force and covering it up by investigations that are superficial,” attorney Arnoldo Casillas said at a November 4 press conference in San Francisco, according to the daily Press Democrat. Casillas, who filed the suit, contends that the killing was unconstitutional because it violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limits police authority.
Casillas interviewed witnesses who dispute law enforcement claims about the shooting. He asserts that the first shot was fired within three seconds of Gelhaus’s command to Lopez to drop what the sheriff's deputy claims he thought was a real gun. Seven bullets hit Lopez. One pierced his heart; at least one him him in the buttocks. Non-lethal alternatives were possible. The second deputy traveling with Gelhaus did not fire a single shot -- and did not even have time to step out of the vehicle before the boy's body lay fatally shot on the street.
Last year, Casillas won a $24 million dollar settlement for the family of a Los Angeles boy who was shot once and paralyzed by police while playing with an airsoft BB gun, similar to the one that Lopez was carrying to return to a friend when he was killed.
In a 2007 killing of African-American high school student Jeremiah Chass in the nearby town of Sebastopol, the Sheriff’s Office was compelled to pay a $1.75 million dollar settlement to the family. In both cases, investigations by outside police departments concluded that the cops were merely following protocol -- which too often seems to be “shoot first, ask questions later.”
But what is officially reported and what actually happens on the street may differ. That's why having next-door-neighbor law enforcement agencies investigate the killings is starting to look more and more like damage control than independent or objective reviews. More bluntly: are they amounting to cover-up investigations by law enforcement departments tasked with investigating each other?
Lopez Family and Others Speak Out
Oct 18, 2013 UN Official comes to Berkeley: LONG TERM SOLITARY CONFINEMENT VIOLATES INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWSubmitted by copwatch on Mon, 10/14/2013 - 10:46pm
Video of the hearing can be viewed or downloaded at the California state channel archives:
Look for the title “Joint Informational Hearing on Segregation Policies in California Prisons” dated October 9, 2013. It is just about four hours long, so it’s a very big file and takes a long time to download.
Stay in strong solidarity! END Long Term Solitary Confinement. Stop the Torture.
Oct 18, 2013 UN Special Rapporteur on Torture comes to L.A. about SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN CA PRISONSSubmitted by copwatch on Sun, 10/13/2013 - 10:17pm
Invitation to meeting on solitary confinement in CA prisons with
for Days of Action Against Police Brutality (Oct 22-23)
You'll see a sign on the right!