Berkeley Copwatch announces the release of it’s own investigation of the police response to the Black Lives Matter protest of December 6, 2014. Over the past year, Copwatch has gathered primary documents, videos, pictures and accounts of what happened on that night. We have made these available as part of the investigative timeline and we encourage people to examine them and to draw their own conclusions.
“We believe that instead of making our community safer, the investigation clearly shows that the police were THE MOST DANGEROUS element on the streets that night. We invite you to look over our account of what happened that night and then ask yourself: Did police make our city more or less safe that night? If they injured people unnecessarily, what assurance do we have that this will not happen again?” said Andrea Prichett, co-author of the on-line presentation.
On December 1st at 7pm in the Old City Council Chambers (2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way) the City Council will receive the report of the Berkeley Police Review Commission. While the PRC report contains many worthwhile reforms, we don’t believe that it has resolved the most important point: cops who brutalize members of our community MUST be disciplined and LEADERS who authorize this kind of violence must also be held accountable and told that this is wrong. We encourage residents and those who witnessed the police response to contact your city council representative and demand justice for the people of Berkeley and accountability for the Berkeley police.
To view the People’s Investigation: http://berkeleycopwatch.org/timeline
The Berkeley Police Department has finally released demographic data on police stops, as required by General Order B-4, which was passed in June 2014. Data on those stops in Berkeley from January 18, 2015 to August 12, 2015, disclosed in response to a Public Records Act (PRA) request, reveals a pattern of discriminatory conduct against African American and Latino civilians.
The data itself can be downloaded or viewed:
Stops: Of 4658 civilians stopped by Berkeley police from January 26 through August 12 of this year for whom demographic statistics are available, 1710 were described as White, 1423 as African American, 543 as Hispanic/Latino. Though Black people constitute less than 8% of Berkeley’s population, they were 30.5% of those stopped by police; whites, comprising 60% of Berkeley, were 36.7% of those stopped.
Disposition: 38.1% of White people stopped by Berkeley police were eventually released without being either arrested or cited. However, 66.2% of African Americans were released without an arrest or citation, with Hispanics/Latinos close behind at 56.4%.
Searches: African Americans were 31% of civilians stopped, yet they were 57% of searches. Whites, on the other hand, were 37% of stops and only 14% of searches.
Unfortunately, the stop data does NOT include pedestrian stops as mandated under city policy. The BPD needs to quickly clarify whether/how pedestrian stops are being reported. This information is not available in the information the BPD provided publicly in response to PRA, but is required by the General Order B-4.
Berkeley Copwatch is tired of unjust policing and lack of accountability. We stand in solidarity with those protesting the murders of black people across the nation and say that this must end! We have our unique problems in Berkeley and the East Bay and we must take local action to stand up and demand justice!
Meetings at 7pm every Monday!
2022 Blake Street Berkeley, CA. 94704
berkeleycopwatch (at) yahoo (dot) com
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.