Berkeley Copwatch is the original Copwatch group. We began in 1990 on Telegraph Ave. as an all-volunteer organization dedicated to monitoring police actions and non-violently asserting our rights. Since that time, many Copwatch-type organizations have sprung up across the nation, in various forms. Berkeley Copwatch is based on the idea that WATCHING the police is a crucial first step in the process of organizing. We do not attempt to interfere in police activity or to resist police misconduct physically. It is our hope that, one day, mass outrage at police and government violence will increase to a point where fundamental change in the nature of policing becomes inevitable.
Berkeley Copwatch's Goals:
1) Reduce police violence by directly observing the police on the street, documenting incidents and keeping police accountable. We maintain principles of non-violence while asserting the rights of the detained person. We provide support to victims whenever possible. We also seek to educate the public about their rights, police conduct in the community and issues related to the role of police in our society.
2) Empower and unite the community to resist police abuse. We will do this by sharing information with the community, conducting "Know Your Rights" trainings, sponsoring rallies, supporting victims and other community based efforts to deal with the problem.
3) Encourage people to solve problems WITHOUT police intervention. We want to explore alternatives to calling the police.
4) Most importantly, we encourage people to exercise their right to observe the police and to advocate for one another.
You are welcome to copy any of the materials on our website and use them to help educate the public and to start a Copwatch group in your community. If you are interested in starting a Copwatch group or program, feel free to contact us with any questions. Although you may find web pages or organizations that call themselves "Copwatch", read through their material carefully.