Filming the Police Is a Potent Tactic for Justice as Well as Community Building

If You See Something Film the Police FTP Nevada Cop Block

The following post was shared with the Nevada Cop Block by Justin Oliver, via the NVCopBlock.org submissions page.

Within the post, Justin describes some experiences he and others within the Dallas area have had while out filming the police. Not only have they found it to be a good way to document any potential abuses by the police, but also an effective method interacting with and connecting to the people within their community. It can also act as a deterrent to those abuses, which is another valuable contribution to community.

There are few instances where I recall being personally thanked by complete strangers for my community activism. When it happened earlier in May, as an elderly woman riding along side me on a DART train in Dallas leaned over and smiled when she understood the reason I was holding a camera, I felt overwhelmed.

“You can do that?” she wondered. We were just two seats apart, but four others also boarded at the Akard Station after walking several blocks of the downtown streets. As copwatchers, we had camera equipment in hand ready to film any police encounters we saw. When the woman asked what the cameras were for, one of the more experienced members of the group spoke up and explained that we film the police. “We’ve got to make them accountable,” he said, pointing to his camera.

She wasn’t convinced. “Are you sure you can do that?” she repeated. That’s a sensible question, I thought, especially for those of us regularly bullied into submission by police officers and others in a position of authority. Filming police encounters creates an independent record of what happened. We’re fostering an environment where accountability from public officials is an everyday expectation rather than an occasional accommodation made by those wielding power.

Despite what is commonly believed, people with deeply held convictions engaging in conventional forms of political activism such as running for office are making less of an individual impact than they could with more direct forms of activism, such as recording and documenting police activity. Conventional politics is often more about intra-party squabbles and strategizing than attracting more supporters to our ideas and challenging objectionable practices. The time-consuming trappings of conventional political activism blunts people’s enthusiasm and exhausts their time on less productive political pursuits.

Direct forms of activism involve building cooperative relationships, utilizing the resources at hand, and peacefully circumventing the arbitrary controls of government and other institutions. Even in small numbers, our presence was felt. That night, we filmed two police encounters in full view. There were pedestrians who witnessed us, and the police were aware of our filming. In the future, that might make an officer think again before committing misconduct or encourage someone to document the public activity of government officials. With the proliferation of the internet, the scope of our activism can spread nationwide as people across the country can view our content — and not just those who already support our ideas.

People from across the political spectrum appreciate when corruption or misconduct is highlighted. We’re tapping into a sentiment most everyone already shares. We’re educating people as to why the essential character of arbitrary power is its inherent unaccountability. Those who would abuse it are the ones most attracted to it, which is all the more reason to limit the reach of the government’s grip.

In only a moment, the passenger we met on the bus had come to realize the potential that regular people have in standing up for justice. A smile passed over her face. She expressed how much she would like more people filming the police in her neighborhood. She thanked us and smiled in appreciation. Before we could exit at our stop, the man behind her said to keep it up and wished us good luck. It felt good to know I could help.

– Justin Oliver

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who's been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He's also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes. ____________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Spread Nevada CopBlock!

Like what we are doing? Share it with the world.

13 Responses to “Filming the Police Is a Potent Tactic for Justice as Well as Community Building”

  1. Blither May 31, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Amen. Every citizen owes a debt of thanks to those that give of their time to record police in everyday duties. A free society requires accountability.

  2. slappy May 31, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    More poopie ass cunt activist bullcrap. There are a bunch of big fucking words in this article and I don’t know what they all fucking mean! Those guys in the picture are hot! I would bend over and let them all have at my fucking shitty man cunt. Activists suck but I suck more…dick. Cunt cunt shit on my chest bitch cunt! Look at me, look at me, look at me! I am the SLAPPYNATOR!!!

  3. RadicalDude May 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Awesome, thank you

  4. the_jerk May 31, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    looks like someone forgot to take their midol today… (hey slap-happy: do the world a favor, pull your lip over your head & swallow!)

  5. tz May 31, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    I hope Google Glass or something like it becomes ubiquitous.

    The videos often speak for themselves. The cops are free to record the interaction. It would be idea if they showed themselves to be more tolerant, more temperate, more de-escalating, more sensitive, than the average citizen. The videos could say that just as well.

    We ought to hold those in charge to a higher standard, not make exceptions. Surveillance can work both ways.

  6. Jose June 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Thats me in the CopBlock gear standing in the middle. Im the administrator of DallasCopBlock for those of you that dont know me. We got together with Peaceful Streets Project – DFW.

  7. RadicalDude June 3, 2013 at 5:16 am #

    @Jose:
    Good going

  8. Common Sense June 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Why does the girl 2nd from the right, look like she pissed herself?

  9. t. June 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Jose: So when does the “peaceful” part kick in?

  10. slappy June 5, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    The tradition continues – More faggot cunt activists making up stories and walking around the neighborhoods with cameras strapped to their faces. It’s great to read every morning that some dumb fucked up activist got arrested and thrown in jail. It’s even more exciting when the activist loses the trial and has to pay the fines. Typical fucked up activist cunts. Thanks for supporting the local PD.

  11. Thenumber4 November 14, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Oh my god people walking around with cameras, change, change indeed

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Who Plans Whom? - June 8, 2013

    […] My recap about a recent copwatching outing was published by copblock.org. That’s was nice. […]

  2. Copwatching for Justice | Who Plans Whom? - June 8, 2013

    […] My recap about a recent copwatching outing was published by copblock.org. That’s was nice. […]

Leave a Reply