Statement made by Redwood Curtain CopWatch at TAKE BACK THE NIGHT, Arcata CA 2008

Redwood Curtain CopWatch, 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 create spaces to gather and share information; share stories and strategies of survival and resistance; network; and build relationships necessary to support and understand each other- recognizing that we must learn from the most oppressed people and communities amongst us. We know that preventing state abuse and violence is part of a larger struggle against racism, militarism, sexism, hetero-patriarchy and capitalism. Therefore we seek to promote community empowerment that explores true conflict resolution and builds community support and protection- without the police- in a variety of creative ways. We believe that being on the streets in crucial to document police activity in order to prevent police violence and hold police accountable for their actions.

In challenging police violence and brutality we recognize the reality that law enforcement does nothing to end cycles of violence.


Rape, Sexual Assault, and Sexual Harassment by on duty law enforcement officers are foremost among gender specific forms of police brutality directed at women of color.

Sex workers in particular report endemic extortion of sexual favors by police officers in exchange for leniency or to avoid routine police violence against them, as well as frequent rapes and sexual assaults.

Societies reliance on law on law enforcement –based responses to violence against women has had a number of unintended consequences including increased vulnerability of survivors to violence- at the hands of both their abusers and law enforcement officers. Police brutality often is committed against those who call for assistance in a domestic violence or sexual assault.

 

As CopWatch we assert our rights to observe the police, to show we care about what happens in our community, and that we will not stand for police violence. Tonight community members that are self identified women survivors and allies will be accompanying the Take Back the Night March to CopWatch. We do this not only because Law Enforcement perpetrates sexualized violence despite rhetoric of protection, but because we realize that the police do not keep us safe; that true safety comes from the community itself.