The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club has long taken strong stances against civil liberties violations by the New York City Police Department, a problem which has become particularly endemic during the Giuliani and Bloomberg/Quinn administrations. On Fathers Day in 2012, the club joined a massive march against the abusive NYPD practice of Stop and Frisk.
I hope this email finds you well and rested after the holiday season. My name is Aidge Patterson, coalition coordinator for Peoples' Justice. I am reaching out to you based on your involvement in police accountability work in NYC, whether we met through the Fathers' Day Stop & Frisk march or otherwise. At a time when many organization are making end-of-year requests for financial contributions, I come to you with a request for support of a different kind: Please read through the letter below and attached and ask your organization to become an endorser of the Peoples' Justice "Cop Watch Alliance!"
As many of you know, Peoples' Justice for Community Control and Police Accountability is a grassroots coalition of organizations based within communities of color and queer communities across NYC, coming together to take a united stand against police violence and misconduct. The member organizations of Peoples' Justice have been combining their efforts to build a city-wide alliance of Cop Watch teams, and I'm excited to update you that our hard work is coming to fruition: We now have Cop Watch teams up-and-running or in development Washington Heights, Jackson Heights, Bushwick, Bed-Stuy & the South Bronx.
Your endorsement will help demonstrate broad support for the Cop Watch Alliance and the practice of Cop Watch as a means for deterring abusive policing and empowering communities. You can indicate your organization's endorsement by filling out the form at the end of the letter and emailing it back to me or simply by replying to this message with your organization's full name.
Please feel free to call or email me with any questions! Hope to hear back from you soon family...
Peoples' Justice for Community Control & Police Accountability
A Call to Endorse the Peoples’ Justice Cop Watch Alliance
Dear Ally in the Police Violence Movement,
700,000 stop and frisks annually. Over $150 million in lawsuit settlements against the NYPD in 2012, with projections of $180 million next year. Attacks on immigrant communities growing through Secure Communities. Growing surveillance of Muslim and South Asian communities. Increasing exposure of police harassment and violence against women and LGBTQ people. Criminalization of homeless people for soliciting donations or sleeping in the “wrong” places. At least 19 people (18 people of color) killed by NYPD in 2012 alone. According to a report issued by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, another Black man, woman or child is killed by law enforcement in the United States every 36 hours. With every individual that is harassed, sexually or physically violated, and/or killed, community members across the nation have been standing up to police violence in their own backyards.
There is a growing fight on all levels, from legislative reforms such as the Community Safety Act to on-the-ground protests and supporting of families of police violence victims, and for that we applaud our friends and allies in the movement, and hope for continued advancement in those areas. In support of all of these forms of struggle, Peoples’ Justice for Community Control & Police Accountability (PJ), led by member orgs Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Justice Committee & CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, is focusing our energy on community-led proactive approaches to help prevent such situations from occurring. One of our main goals within this work is promoting the culture of Cop Watch throughout New York City, which the member orgs of Peoples’ Justice have become well-known for helping popularize. By observing our right to monitor and document police activity, whether in organized teams or individually when the moment arises, we hope to simultaneously prevent police violence while building empowerment in our own communities. PJ is on the verge of taking it to the next level, and are hoping that you will join us as we move forward.
While there are many people actively exercising their right to document police activity throughout NY, some in teams and some as individuals, there has not been a centralized space created to effectively build between the different groups, to share resources and best practices, or to help project a visibly unified & organized resistance to police misconduct and brutality. With this in mind, PJ is organizing a “Cop Watch Alliance,” which will serve as this space for current and arising patrol teams across the city. The Alliance will provide teams with advanced recording technology, access to legal support, trainings to heighten teams’ skill sets, outreach materials, and mentorship in their development.
As an organization that we both respect and admire, we urge you to become an endorser of the Cop Watch Alliance. Signing on as a Cop Watch Alliance endorser does Not require that your organization participates in Cop Watch patrols nor join our decision making body. Rather, endorsing the Alliance expresses a belief in the importance of organizing community based cop watch teams by, for & led by those most affected by police violence throughout the city, and to provide space for them to share experiences, build skills and support growth and development. Cop Watch Alliance endorsing organization will:
- Be listed on the Peoples’ Justice website and relevant outreach materials
- Circulate information & publications about Alliance events when possible
- Peoples’ Justice and the Alliance also hope you will consider mobilizing in cases of police targeting of Cop Watchers
Our communities are under attack daily, and it is only the most affected of us who can put an end to it. While everyone is making their asks for monetary donations from you, all that we ask is for your support in name as community, as our peoples, as the only ones we can count on. Help us to build and strengthen the Cop Watch Alliance, our family all across New York City are counting on it…
Peoples’ Justice for Community Control & Police Accountability
If you are interested in endorsement, please fill out the information below & return to us at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time, energy, & dedication to the movement to stop police violence, we can’t wait to move forward with you!
We ___________________________________(org name) want to become a:
[ ] Cop Watch Alliance endorsing organization
[ ] We need more information, but are interested…
Please contact our organization to follow up & provide more information at:
Contact Person: ____________________________________________