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last modified September 26, 2008 by theCoup

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This project strives to develop a safe means for you (a witness) to give your contact information or testimony to someone under police control.


Why: It's difficult to proactively witness a wrongful or abusive police action in a public space. Victims can't easily gather information from witnesses while under police control. And for witnesses, it's difficult to intervene without escalating the situation and risking harm to yourself and the person you hope to help.

  • In 2006, the NYPD stopped, questioned and frisked 508,540 individuals, a 5x increase from 2002 (97,296) despite flat crime rates.
  • 86% of those stopped were Black or Latino (52% Black, 34% Latino).
  • 90% of those stopped were neither arrested nor issued summonses. This means they were involved in no criminal wrongdoing.
  • 53% of the listed reasons were “area has a high crime incidence.” Standing alone, presence in a high crime area cannot legally be the basis for a stop.
  • The NYPD is currently maintaining a database of the names of all individuals stopped. That means that hundreds of thousands of people not engaged in criminal activity are in NYPD files.

(Source: SCARP and NYCLU )

Goal #1: Create a simple resource that fits the following:

  • business card sized - easy to distribute, carry, and give as a witness
  • provide 3rd party contact information on the front that can facilitate an introduction and prevent police retaliation
  • provide clear instructions on the back on how to safely serve as a witness without escalating the situation
  • identify a witness' rights and responsibilities

Goal #2: Create a website that collects anyone's and everyone's observations and testimony, in any form: emails, images, videos, voice mails, text messages, tweets, etc. It'll organize these by time and place for use by victims and advocates.


Get Involved:

Contribute resources, ideas, concerns, or referrals. Join this project or contact us.


Planning:

  • Gather legal resources
  • Identify police watch groups, advocates, and trainings
  • Identify relevant state laws for witnesses
  • Create a mock-up to be used and tested by legal observers with professional training


Resources:

Links: