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DeCal Class Syllabus: Copwatch: Community Based Police Accountability

Pil Christensen

Location: 2022 Blake Street

Copwatch: Community Based Police Accountability

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, power analysis, 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.

Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this semester, students will: • Know and be able to assert their rights when stopped by police • Be able to identify constitutional police practices and procedures • Be able to document police misconduct and know how to evaluate a potential case for civil rights violations • Be able to interact with civil authorities in pursuit of individual complaints, public records act requests, class action lawsuits • Analyze the causes of police misconduct and recommend possible solutions Students will be required to attend weekly lectures, go out on regular Copwatch patrols and provide written responses to writings provided by the facilitators.

Semester Schedule

1-11 Semester starts

1-17 MLK jr. Holiday (No class)

1-24 First Day of Class: Logistics of class/ intro / get to know you

1-31 Know Your Rights Training (Legal)

2-7 Know Your Rights Training (techniques)

2-14 Gang Injunctions: A Case Study in Community-Police Relations

2-21 HOLIDAY 2-28 UCPD : A History and Current Issues

3-7 Origins and Role of the Police

3-14 Poverty and Police: The enforcement of class


3-28 SPECIAL EXTENDED CLASS: Race/Privilege Workshop (5:30pm to 9pm)

4-4 Oscar Grant and the challenges of community organizing (Derrick Jones and other violations of human rights).

4-11 Post 9-11 /Borders and Immigration 4-18 Prison Industrial Complex: Georgia Prison Strike Case study

4-25 Abolition and Alternatives: Towards a Better Justice. Evaluation of class. Presentation of proposals for justice. Turn in research papers.


Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis by Christian Parenti (1999)

The Iron Fist and The Velvet Glove by Institute for the Study of Labor and Economic Crisis (1973)

Police Brutality: An Anthology by Jill Nelson (2001)

Governing Through Crime by Jonathan Simon (2007)

Abolition Now! Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex: Contributors Include: Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, David Gilbert, Martha Escobar, Liz Samuels and David Stein, Dylan Rodríguez, and Eddy Zheng (2008)


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