Copy

CALENDAR

The website has a calendar!
View shifts, DeCal classes, office hours, general meetings, events and more at
http://berkeleycopwatch.org/calendar.html

A. Meetings held Mondays at 7:00 PM
Excepting Monday March 7, when we will meet at 8:15 PM. Come one, come all!

B. Copwatching Shifts
  • Friday March 11, 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM
  • Thursday March 17, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Saturday March 26, 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM
C. Flea Market Tabling Saturday April 9
Parking lot of the Ashby BART Station. Stop by and say hi.


JOIN US FOR A SHIFT: MASS COPWATCHING


· Friday March 11, 8 PM - 11 PM
· Thursday March 17, 5 PM - 7 PM
· Saturday March 26, 8 PM - 11 PM
 
Since October 2015, Berkeley Copwatch has been holding “mass copwatch” events that invite folks to join us for a shift. It’s been fun and very empowering to have a group of copwatchers patrolling our city and on the scene when police stop people.

This month we have three shifts scheduled. The Thursday shift will likely be a walking shift. Please join us; we will train you in the essentials of copwatching, how to document and how to stay safe!

Contact us at (510) 548-0425 or 
berkeleycopwatch@yahoo.com to learn where we will be meeting.

^ back to top
 
Berkeley Copwatchers table at the Ashby Flea Market 2/21. Photograph: Airin Chen
The Copwatch DeCal class, called "Community Based Police Accountability," is back again for Spring 2016. Topics covered will include militarization, gentrification, mental health and more. Peyton Provenzano and Emma Fogel, both sophomores, will continue facilitating the class, which will be held on Mondays from 5:00 - 6:30 PM in Dwinelle, room 247. Community members are  always welcome and encouraged to sit in.
^ back to top

 

Schedule a speaker for your class or organization!
After four years of foot dragging by the Berkeley Police Department, Copwatch was finally able to get hard data on the number of people stopped by BPD. Not surprisingly (and based on their own data collection), BPD disclosed that it is practicing racial profiling at an alarming rate, stopping Black people at approximately five times as White people.  Berkeley Copwatchers are connecting the dots between police harassment of Black people and the rapidly decreasing African American population. With the unleashing of developers upon our city and gentrification run amok, we need to carefully create a united resistance against racism and corruption within our city.

We are asking community groups and organizations if they would like our people to come to your meeting/gathering and give a visual presentation that lasts less than 30 minutes. Speakers will bring some graphs and facts to help paint the big picture of what is happening in Berkeley, and will also leave ample time for discussion of these difficult topics.

If you would like us to give a presentation to your group or know of another group that may be interested, please call (510) 229-0527 or email 
berkeleycopwatch@yahoo.com.

^ back to top

 

On February 21, Berkeley Copwatch held space at the Ashby Flea Market to hand out literature and chat about racist policing in Berkeley.

The flea market patrons and vendors were, for the most part, already aware of BPD’s targeting of the black community, and many shared their own stories about negative encounters with the police. (For data on racist policing in Berkeley, check out this press release.) This racist policing goes hand in hand with other city policies that target the black community, notably policies of urban development that seek to transform and gentrify historically black neighborhoods.

Currently, Berkeley political and economic leaders are in the midst of a two-and-a-half year planning effort to “revitalize” the Adeline Corridor, the South Berkeley area of Adeline from Ward to the Oakland border. With the plan, they hope to attract new businesses, make a “cohesive streetscape design” and even encourage the area as an arts district. South Berkeley residents are worried, however, that this plan will displace black business owners and residents in the historically black neighborhood. Community members have good reason for concern; between 1990 and 2013 the overall black population of Berkeley dropped from 18% to 8%, and in South Berkeley from 47% to 20%.

Meanwhile, the neighborhood is already home to a number of thriving black- and POC-owned businesses and restaurants, including the vendors at the Ashby Flea Market. Operating since 1975, the flea market has been an important place for vendors and community members to do business, listen to music, eat, drink and socialize for the past 40+ years. The market is run by five community organizations: Berkeley Free Clinic, People’s Park Project, Berkeley Copwatch, Street Spirit and East Bay Food Not Bombs. Under the Adeline Corridor Plan, the flea market is in danger of being displaced from its current location.

This plan of development and gentrification will make Berkeley unlivable for black community members if we are not a part of the planning for the future of our community. We need to visit and shop at the flea market to support our local craftspeople. We need to get informed about the plans for South Berkeley. We need to speak up about the issue of racist displacement in Berkeley. You can email Alisa Shen, the Principal Planner for the Adeline Corridor, and you can voice your opinions at the next “Community Learning Session” on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the South Berkeley Senior Center, tentatively 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

Berkeley Copwatch will be back at the flea market on the afternoon of Saturday April 9.

^ back to top

 

At a meeting on February 24, the PRC considered the Berkeley Police Department effort to change the “Right to Watch” policy that has been in effect since 1983. The problem is that BPD wants to revise the policy to include a clause that limits observers to a "safe distance" away. They also want to retain a section that allows the police to stop someone from observing police if the officer thinks it might compromise confidentiality. Berkeley Copwatch is concerned because the law already says we are not allowed to interfere. We do not want Berkeley to add EXTRA restrictions that the state doesn't require. Check out this letter and video demonstrating what its like to copwatch a simple traffic stop in Berkeley and some of the issues involved.

Come to the Police Review Commission meeting on March 9 at 7 PM, 2939 Elis Street (South Berkeley Senior Center), and help us to stand up for the right to watch police.

^ back to top

 
Currently, California is one of the states with the least transparency about police misconduct and use of force. Under the Police Officer Bill of Rights, police disciplinary records are confidential, and even those that file complaints do not get basic information about whether their complaint was sustained and if corrective actions were taken.

Compare this to states like Texas, Kentucky, Utah and a few others, where records become public once a department determines that an officer was engaged in misconduct. Or states like Florida, Washington, Ohio and seven others, where misconduct reports are public regardless of the findings.

On February 19, Senator Mark Leno introduced SB1286, a bill that would allow the public access to records related to the use of force and sustained charges of misconduct, and would allow people who file complaints access to basic information about the processing of their complaint and whether corrective actions were taken.

You can learn more about SB1286 from the ACLU’s press release, linked here.

^ back to top

 

In order to achieve our goals this year, we need some stuff! We're asking around to see if anyone has an LCD projector they would be willing to lend or give to us to help facilitate our educational campaign. We are also looking for a new police scanner and a new computer, as well as the funds to help print materials and revamp our website. Or, if you would like to donate some money to our general fund, that would be amazing too! Berkeley Copwatch is an all volunteer organization that is supported by the community. If you have any leads, or would like to donate, please email us at
berkeleycopwatch@yahoo.com.
^ back to top
 
Grassroots House
2022 Blake Street
Berkeley, CA  94704
(510) 548-0425
To Submit to Copwatch Newsletter:
Please send the exact text of your submission to stephanie.maurer@gmail.com with “CW News [month/year]” in the subject line. Your submission should include a title to be listed in the table of contents. The deadline for submission is 8:00 PM on the 25th of each month. I cannot send attachments, so please include an email address for those, if needed. Please specify if you would like your submission to run multiple times and provide an end date.