David Whitt is a member of WeCopwatch and a founding member of The Canfield Watchmen, a Ferguson Copwatch group that formed shortly after the murder of Mike Brown.
The Canfield Watchmen and WeCopwatch train residents of Ferguson about their rights when stopped by law enforcement and while observing cops. They’ve also distributed over 200 video cameras and helped decrease police harassment in the neighborhood.
Whitt supported the formation of Copwatch groups in Oakland, Detroit, Baltimore, and North Charleston, and is helping create a First Responders network in St. Louis.
Presentations from Facing Race 2016
Over the past few years, eyewitness video has played a vital role in exposing police brutality against black and brown men and women in the US. While the power of this visual evidence has led many to advocate for equipping police with body cameras, groups like WeCopwatch and WITNESS are advocating for more activists and civilians to proactively film police activity in their communities as a way to de-escalate tense situations and document misconduct. We believe that educating people to safely and effectively document abuses can strengthen the chances that their video can serve as legal evidence, help illuminate patterns of systemic violence and eventually lead to securing justice.
This workshop will briefly introduce the work of WeCopwatch and WITNESS and provide an overview of the history of copwatching in the US, your rights when filming the police, basic practices for documenting a police stop or police misconduct during a protest, and what to consider before sharing a video of police abuse publicly. If time and space allow, we will finish the session with a hands-on filming exercise.Speakers: Jackie Zammuto, David Whitt