Every semester, the Copwatch DeCal Class, hosted by UC Berkeley DeCal Program and Berkeley Copwatch, invites activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, resisters, rebels, concerned civilians and family members from communities of struggle across the Bay Area to join us on Monday evenings for facilitated conversations on policing and safety—past conversations have included friends from the Oscar Grant Committee, Stop the Gang Injunctions, Coalition for a Safer San Francisco, Boalt Law School and many others.
Through a combination of class presentations by leading activists in the alternative justice movement and direct field monitoring of police on duty, students will experience first hand the complex issues faced by residents caught between high crime in their neighborhoods and the dangers that racial profiling, civil and human rights abuses bring to the community. Students will be trained in basic criminal procedure, analysis of power and techniques for observing police activity. In addition, students will examine the history and origins of police, resistance movements and community-based alternatives to the justice system as we know it.
THIS SEMESTER (Spring 2021):
The first official class is an introduction to Community-Based Police Accountability and an overview of the course. The second class is a Know-Your-Rights Training. Students will learn about police encounters and lawful procedures/responses and what would constitute violations of those laws or procedures. Students will also receive an in-depth training on copwatching procedure and safety from the founder of Berkeley Copwatch. Through a combination of presentations by activists in the alternative justice movement as well as direct field monitoring of police, we will study and discuss many of the harsh realities of modern policing, as well as the historical origins of how things arrived at the state they are in today. Most of the topics we discuss use local case studies involving the Berkeley Police Department & UCPD. Topics include militarization, mental health, police repression of activist movements and current events related to police reform efforts and policing. Students will also be trained in basic criminal procedure, power analysis, techniques for observing police activity and avenues for reporting abuses.
Berkeley Copwatch has been encouraging and educating community members to exercise their right-to-watch the police since 1990. Due to repeated instances of police violence being caught on film, the right-to-watch has been in the media spotlight. Even with video evidence, police continue to act with impunity. The DeCal is meant to provide community members with the knowledge and resources to participate in the fight against police brutality.
Classes begin Monday, January 25
Mondays, 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Sign Up Form: https://bit.ly/copwatchclass
Read the syllabus: https://bit.ly/decalsyllabus
Cal Student Sign Up: Course # is pending, and will be given out on the first day of class.