“We Need More Copwatchers. Not Cops with Cameras.” – David Whitt, Canfield Watchmen
The Canfield Watchmen is a community based Copwatch project recently formed in the Ferguson, MO, Canfield Green apartments, where Mike Brown was killed.
Canfield Green residents organized to educate themselves on their rights in police encounters and equip themselves with video cameras as a deterrent to further police misconduct. Funds raised by the Watchmen and Oakland, CA – based WeCopwatch enabled hundreds of Canfield residents to be trained and receive cameras.
The cameras led to a significant decrease in police harassment and violence, prompting the Canfield Watchmen to train residents of other St. Louis County neighborhoods and groups active in the Justice for Mike Brown movement.
Today, the Canfield Watchmen are announcing the 1000 Camera Project, a joint project of the Watchmen and WeCopwatch. One thousand St. Louis area residents will be trained and armed with copwatch cameras.
As you know, WeCopwatch and The Canfield Watchmen have been conducting Know Your Rights trainings and equipping local residents with video cameras. This Halloween The Canfield Watchmen are handing out Copwatch shirts to newly trained Copwatchers to help promote a safe environment for trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
A “National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and Criminalization of an Entire Generation,” will be arriving at major cities and towns across the U.S. in a nationwide call to action.
Overseen by the October 22 Coalition, the action is expected to be a historic condemnation of the Department of Justice for its 19-year history of failures to collect and share statistics on the use of excessive force by police officers, even though this action was mandated by “The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,” the largest crime bill in U.S. history.
But, resistance on the part of local police departments, and a lack of enforcement — interest? — by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, effectively neutered the legislation. Because of this there is no central reporting authority, although FBI statistics point to at least 500 citizens killed every year by law enforcement.