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Activist group to begin police 'watch'
Sunday, August 21, 2005
By PATRICK JOHNSON
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD - A newly formed activist group called Western Massachusetts Copwatch says it will begin regular patrols of the streets of Springfield and Holyoke in the next few weeks seeking to videotape cases of police brutality.

"They should know we'll be watching," spokeswoman Justine Johnson of Easthampton said of police in each city.

Copwatch, she said, is not so much about rooting out "bad cops" as much as it is letting all police officers know they could be caught on tape.

"It's the idea of people in a community keeping an eye on what police are doing," she said.

Wearing matching gold Copwatch T-shirts, teams of four or five volunteers will drive around at various times of day, armed with police scanners, notebooks and video cameras.

Holyoke and Springfield police said Copwatch may watch from a safe distance, but warned against interfering or preventing officers from doing their jobs.

"As long as they adhere to the law, this is a free country," said Holyoke Police Chief Anthony R. Scott.

Springfield Police spokesman Sgt. John Delaney said Copwatch is welcome to videotape whatever and whenever they want as long as they do not get too close.

"If they start to interfere with police, it's a different matter. That's when the officer's safety comes into play," he said.

Delaney said he is not concerned that Copwatch will record any police wrongdoing. "All they are going to see is professionalism," he said.

Scott said he knows almost nothing about the group or why it chose to set up shop in Holyoke.

"You could count the number of police abuse cases on one hand, probably with three fingers, since I've been here," he said.

Johnson said Copwatch was not inspired by any specific incident in either city. She said the group was already in the works last November when Douglas Greer, a black school principal, claimed he was dragged from his car at a South End gas station and beaten by five white officers.

A city investigation concluded the officers pulled Greer from his car and held him down in order to get him medical attention while he suffered from a diabetic seizure.

Johnson said Copwatch originated last summer at a protest of a proposed jail for female inmates in Chicopee.

At the time, police in Holyoke and Springfield were cracking down on prostitution and street-level drug deals, and several of the protesters felt police needed to be watched to make sure they did not step over the line.

The group has 25 volunteer members who have been training for nearly a year in the use of equipment and in dealing with different situations, she said.

The group is not affiliated with any of the several Copwatch programs nationwide, but the founder of the program in Phoenix, Ariz., did provide training, she said.

Johnson said the training stressed maintaining a safe distance from officers.

"We'll stay a safe distance away. If they tell us to step back, we'll step back," she said.

This will be done not out of concern for the safety of the officers but for the people being questioned, she said.

"No way are we trying to put the people they stop at risk," she said.
 

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Yeah this is soooooooo positive!!!

1. Like we're NOT aware our daily activities are more than likely being taped anyway!

2. Nice to know these people would rather volunteer to spend time exhibiting a bias towards a class of professionals than helping out with disabled persons or mentoring children or tutoring for literacy.
 

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bbelichick said:
"We'll stay a safe distance away. If they tell us to step back, we'll step back," she said.

This will be done not out of concern for the safety of the officers but for the people being questioned, she said.

"No way are we trying to put the people they stop at risk," she said.
That is my favorite part. They don't give a crap about the officers...just the criminals. Morons.
 

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All the diddlers, crack whores, and shitbags just trying to make it tougher for the police to bust their friends. I just hope they realize that any unauthorized audio recording is violation of the wiretap law and is a 5 year felony! (Actually, I hope they don't realize it)
 

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Investigator25 said:
All the diddlers, crack whores, and shitbags just trying to make it tougher for the police to bust their friends. I just hope they realize that any unauthorized audio recording is violation of the wiretap law and is a 5 year felony! (Actually, I hope they don't realize it)
I would be checking for the microphone after every call these left wing nuts showed up on a call and videotaped. If it is there and they don't want to replay the tape...clink. Prove the microphone on the camera was not working in court.

Holyoke and Springfield police said Copwatch may watch from a safe distance, but warned against interfering or preventing officers from doing their jobs.

"As long as they adhere to the law, this is a free country," said Holyoke Police Chief Anthony R. Scott.

Springfield Police spokesman Sgt. John Delaney said Copwatch is welcome to videotape whatever and whenever they want as long as they do not get too close.

"If they start to interfere with police, it's a different matter. That's when the officer's safety comes into play," he said.
Translation: Stay very far away or you'll be charged with disorderly and resisiting
 

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Its nice to know these people have no life whatsoever other than to cause trouble, sounds like they need a job. Contribute to society in a productive way.
 

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"25 volunteer members who have been training for nearly a year in the use of equipment "

What amazes me is it took almost a year to learn how to use a notebook,scanner and video camera??????? WTF. They must have recruited people from the short bus.
 
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