Tag Archives: Sunset Activist Collective

Not Playing Around: How Police Support Culture Hurts Our Children

Police Violence Culture Toy Gun

The world has changed. LEOs now are taught to operate in an us-vs-them war on cops mentality. Tamir Rice, John Crawford III, and Andy Lopez all had toy guns and were murdered by the police as a result.

Note: This post was shared with Nevada Cop Block by Ballentine of the Sunset Activist Collective, as well as one of the members of the “Sunset 4,” via the NVCopBlock.org Submission page. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

I was about 12 or 13 when I had a negative experience with law enforcement. I was camping and like other children do, I was playing with a toy gun outside and exploring the picturesque countryside. As I came over a small hill I spotted an armed forestry ranger lecturing another camper about having a firearm on national park lands. As soon as the ranger and I saw each other our body language changed. He stepped back slightly and his right hand flew down to his still holstered pistol.

He screamed “drop the weapon!” or maybe just “drop it!” And I did instantly, knowing that I was seconds away from catching his bullet. He approached me and inspected my toy. He told me to go put it away and out of absolute terror I did. I was just glad to have not been shot in the middle of nowhere. It was just a bizarre set of circumstances. I reasonably could understand his fear, an adolescent who appeared to be armed taking the high ground to possibly ambush him, possibly in connection to the already armed man he was presently admonishing. And yet he didn’t kill either of us.

Tamir RiceTamir Rice, John Crawford III, and Andy Lopez also had toy guns, but unlike me they were murdered by law enforcement. Law enforcement approached them. If law enforcement had not they might still be alive. None of them were committing a crime.

The world has changed. Law enforcement now is taught that they operate in an us-versus-them war on cops mentality. I used to walk around with pellet guns and even fire them within city limits. No one ever questioned it. Packs of children with pellet guns learned to shoot at soda cans in the vacant lots and deserts. We didn’t have airsoft. I can remember being about six and having a cap gun going to the airport in Washington DC. The TSA confiscated it and then sent us a check for it. They explained that they were very sorry, but they didn’t want to have people on the plane be scared. I don’t imagine that would go over the same way today.

John Crawford IIII remember learning about the 1968 riots in Chicago and about how Chicago kids played a new game “cops vs protesters” that involved beating each other with pillows or paper towel rolls. Children have probably been playing “cops and robbers” for a really long time. Many articles have been written about reinforcing gender stereotypes through toys and play, but what does the way children play say about police support culture? I too played cops and robbers but I always played the robber. The reason was in my mind cops were these overly wholesome “I’m not going to have any fun at all” people and that was a huge turn off. I think even as a child I considered them to not be that smart.

Does playing these games say something about the way we live? Would I still play if the police had murdered someone I knew? Why are the police always the “good guys” in these games? It’s not “cops and active shooter” it’s cops and robbers. Does this say something about the way we view property and the role that the police play in protecting the concept of property? The danger of all of this is the lack of objectivity. Children are taught not to steal and this is reinforced by playing a game where no one actually steals anything but instead we have a false gun battle playing out daily in backyards. It’s never questioned whether or not its OK to play “cops and robbers” or whether the cop could actually be the bad guy.

Andy Lopez Cruz is shown in this undated family photoToy guns are bought and sold and will likely be a part of several Halloween costumes this year, but what isn’t talked about is who can carry them and who can’t without fear of being murdered. It’s worth noting that John Crawford III was merely looking at a toy rifle in a store when he was murdered. If you’d asked me 15 years ago should children be allowed to play with toy guns I would have said “yes, they encourage people to go outside and play.” I would still say that children should be allowed but would I recommend it? No. Not anymore. It’s become too dangerous to play now.

Here in Las Vegas, in 1998, a 13 year old boy was wounded when Officer Anthony Russo shot him in the arm and leg for carrying a toy gun. The boy was not on school district property. If you can’t walk around with a toy anymore then we’ve really robbed children of their innocence. Tamir Rice was playing at a park and Andy Lopez in a vacant lot. Who were they going to shoot with their fake weapons? The police caused the danger by entering into a situation with real guns. They could have cleared the area and then approached, they could have observed first, but instead they opted to murder a child.

Sean Williams John CrawfordI know some will say “how does this effect me? These were children and I’m an adult who doesn’t have a gun let alone a fake one.” Consider the possibility that the police might shoot you to get their paid vacation and then plant a pellet gun or squirt gun on your lifeless corpse. There is no background check for a pellet gun; there is no registry for any toy gun, as well there shouldn’t be. But this means a law enforcement officer could conceivably find a toy gun while off duty and then plant it as a drop piece and file in their report “it was dark, I thought they had a gun.”

I suspect that this scenario is fairly common and we don’t know, because there is seldom accountability in the form of a criminal trial. We are all at risk of being assassinated by a killer cop so long as the policy of never holding the police accountable continues.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

Leave a comment

Las Vegas Police Make It Very Clear They Don’t Understand the First Amendment at Chalk Protest

LVMPD CCDC Chalk Protest

Two Can Play That Game

On September 9th, members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective were doing a chalk protest at the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) in Downtown Las Vegas. Things were pretty quiet and peaceful until a bunch of gang members working for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) showed up to harass and intimidate us, even though we weren’t doing anything illegal or in any way disruptive.

They started out by admitting that we weren’t being detained (and therefore not suspected of a crime), but stated that they would like for us to leave. I politely told them (and wrote, as you can see to the left) that we would like for THEM to leave.

At that point, the sergeant (badge #5906) and several (but not all) of the other officers, did in fact leave. However, as they were (jay)walking away they indicated that they were going to go call some patrol officers because it’s illegal for us to chalk there, which is very much not true.

Shortly after, they returned and began making it very clear that they didn’t understand the First Amendment or that wacky Free Speech thing that it protects. The sergeant stated that he was concerned about the content of the messages we were writing. Then when questioned about what the 1st Amendment says and how that might apply to his concerns, he seemed to genuinely not know and kinda just repeated variations of his concern about what we were writing as if it was a mantra they taught him in the academy.

#BlueLiesMatter

#BlueLiesMatter

He did briefly manage to expand on that once by stating that he was concerned the content of our First Amendment protected speech would incite people to violence against cops, in spite of the fact that nothing we wrote was violent or urging any sort of violence against anyone. It was merely an exercise of our Constitutionally protected right to Free Speech to protest police brutality and murders by cops.

I pointed out that it is all the blatant instances of police murdering people, often on video, that is inciting people, not us telling people about it. He didn’t seemed to be able to grasp the connection and actually stated that all those videos of cops murdering people were “irrelevant.”

That is actually really telling, in regards to the current attitudes and actions of many police officers. Many of them seem to actually believe that manufacturing a fake “War On Cops” and using that as a justification to double down on their own violence is the solution to all of the hatred and even violence that they are beginning to feel from the public. It certainly is one of the reasons that the police in Las Vegas have such little support among the residents here.

Then everyone stood around for over half an hour while they tried to intimidate us and we waited for these patrol officers to show up and harass and/or threaten us. At one point, someone who appeared to be an off-duty cop drove up, parked facing the wrong direction, and had a little chat with them. Afterwards, he did an illegal U-turn and parked the wrong direction (this time also in a fire lane) on the other side of the road, so he could chat with another officer on that sidewalk.

Murder=Paid Vacation (For Cops)

Murder = Paid Vacation (For Cops)

I got kinda bored then, so I started asking some questions. For the record, I never did get an answer on whether there’s a basketball court upstairs in the jail. Nor did they give me a clear answer on whether they still use those old-timely jail house keys or if there’s any correlation between the shade of their uniforms and their rank. I’m still considering whether to file a FOIA request on those, but I probably won’t.

Then they apparently got word from the patrol officers that they were full of shit, we weren’t doing anything illegal, and nobody was going to waste their time coming down to tell them that. So they (jay)walked back over to the jail and went inside.

All in all, the eight or so cops (five jail guards, one officer who appeared to be with the gang unit, an undercover unit, one patrol unit that was parked around the corner, and a Nevada Highway Patrol unit that might have just been passing through) that wasted about an hour on something they should have known was legal in the first place, served as a great example why the LVMPD keeps claiming it needs to extort Las Vegas citizens for even more money to hire additional cops.

(Note: This video is pretty long, so I tried to shorten it as much as possible by literally cutting out any pauses. For the sake of accuracy and transparency, I’ve also embedded the full 36+ minute raw video below. So you can watch the full unedited version, if you are inclined to do so. Mostly what was cut out was about ten minutes of dead air when we were just waiting for the patrol officers they had called to show up.)

Click Banner to learn more about filming the police

Click Banner to learn more about filming the police

Raw Video

3 Comments

Maybe Las Vegas Needs a Riot (Via Submission)

This post was submitted by Ballentine of the Sunset Activist Collective, via the CopBlock.org Submissions page. Ballentine was also a member of the “Sunset Four,” a group of Las Vegas activists who were arrested in August of 2013 for protesting against police brutality and other crimes by the police.

After multiple attempts, law enforcement in Southern Nevada succeeded in forcing the Clark County Commission to pass a sales tax measure to fund the hiring of more police officers. The vote itself was a forgone conclusion, which many people who spoke at the hearing eluded to. Only Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani voted against passage and for the wrong reasons, that she was against sales taxes not the police. I fault her as well for not standing up to the police.

Prior to the hearing several people involved in organizing against this tax proposal were followed on twitter by law enforcement with the Southern Nevada Joint Terrorism Task Force. Opponents to the new tax included people across a broad spectrum of beliefs and all were ignored. Former Sheriff Bill Young, who now heads security at Station Casinos, even invoked the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) to pressure commissioners to pass this bill. The Latin American Chamber of Congress echoed this false belief stating that “we are one incident away from disaster on the strip.” (Kinda like the incident where LVMPD officers choked and beat two innocent people that had just broken up a fight during News Years. – Editor)

Another great place on the internet to show your CopBlock love.

Another great place on the internet to show your CopBlock love.

The truth is that, according to the US Government, you are eight times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than in the War on Terror. People in Nevada have good reason to fear the police. Local law enforcement serves corporations, not the public, and this was clear by the corporate representation that was present at today’s hearing. Wynn resorts, the AFL-CIO, Caesars Entertainment and NV Energy to name just a few. Even Mcmullin’s Pub came in to support this robbery.

Las Vegas police stand guard outside the Harrah's hotel-casino in Las Vegas on Feb. 21, 2006. As officer Norman Jahn recalls, police arrested the suspected gunman without firing a shot.Law enforcement likes to pretend they are outgunned at major events, but the reality is that businesses are already forced to pay for police officer security when their events have more than 100 people in attendance. The justification for this tax was fear. From Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick suggesting the tiny hamlet of Mesquite has a gang problem, to union reps claiming that the situation on the Strip is “out of control” fear was used to sell this.

For all his sweet talking of law enforcement, we need to remember that Former Sheriff Gillespie had a secret meeting to dig up dirt on Chairman Steve Sisolak that they could use to blackmail him into complying with this vote after the last time it failed. I have to wonder what they discovered about him.

William Mosher LVMPD Erik ScottI’m also irked that even more of my money will go to pay for the murder of unarmed people of color, which the commission in opting not to address the issue of the police never being put on trial has given approval to a culture where black lives don’t matter. Commissioner Lawrence Weekly went so far as to admit “there are probably people in jail who don’t belong there, that belong in the hospital.” By acknowledging such an issue, but then approving the money to increase the likelihood that this will continue, he is in league with the police state.

It’s concerning that people still think elections will do anything meaningful. “Go vote” law enforcement will tell you, but for who exactly? Not one person sitting on that commission had the right idea and they should be ashamed of their actions.

After I spoke several people came to me and thanked me for my comments. As a retired teacher I know that local government holds these hearings during the day to make it so working people can’t comment. As a victim of police brutality, I am saddened that the body count of Nevada law enforcement will continue to climb. If local government is so cowardly and likes to use fear as a tactic then I say maybe we should speak their language. Maybe Las Vegas needs a riot.

Derek Colling LVMPDMaybe people should boycott Clark County businesses. I don’t know about you, but having a police state doesn’t make me feel safer it makes me want to stay away from that city. If I’m given the choice of a vacation without police harassment or with lots of it, I’m picking without.

I urge anyone who owns a business to deny free services or any service for law enforcement. Stop coddling these overpaid murderers. We need to stand up to them and not allow law enforcement to threaten attacks or reduction in services that the figures show they have ample money and manpower to address. I really have to wonder where the hypocrisy stops, I feel we are heading toward a confrontation based on corporate supported racist police forces and that any “incident” that occurs will be the direct result of ignoring the issue of out of control law enforcement.

Click Banner to learn more about filming the police

Click Banner to learn more about filming the police

2 Comments

Security Guard With a Criminal Justice Degree; Knows Pretty Much Nothing About the Law

Stupid Security Guard Zappos AcmeRecently, members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective were doing a chalk protest on the sidewalks in front of the Zappos Headquarters in Las Vegas. Although Zappos is a private entity, we often protest against them because they use their money and influence to buy land from the city at huge “discounts.” They also leverage that ability to acquire cheap property to drive long standing businesses out of the downtown area. It’s gentrification and cronyism at its worst. They literally bought city hall and it’s not just a metaphor. They have a tight leash on Mayor Carolyn Goodman and most of the City Council members.

They have pushed for and had passed on their behalf laws and city policies, such as beverage sales restrictions and age based curfews, that target their competition (liquor stores) and give police the opportunity to harass people who might be downtown, but that aren’t frequenting the bars that they own or sponsor. Other ordinances they have used their influence to get passed have also targeted street performers, who they also see as competition for the bars, and homeless people.

Security Guard Bachelors Degree Zappos AcmeAs we were in the process of chalking, one of their security guards (the company they work for directly is “Acme Security”) came out and very aggressively tried to claim we couldn’t write on “their property.” Another security guard showed up shortly after and was also acting very aggressive and was equally confused about basic property laws. A third security guard was there, but stayed more or less in the background.

We informed them that the public sidewalk was not their property. Then the first security guard threatened to call the police and also said that we didn’t have his consent to film, which we don’t actually need when filming in public. After we pointed out that he probably should learn basic law if he’s going to work in security, he stated that he was not “just a stupid security guard” and that he “has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.”

Just a Stupid Security Guard Zappos AcmeEventually, after about ten minutes, two LVMPD officers showed up (two more cars also arrived while they were there, but it was basically over by then) and told him he was wrong and we were not breaking the law by chalking on public sidewalks or filming him in public view. It was actually rather humorous (in light of the security guard’s earlier claims about his education) when one of them remarked to us, after I brought up their lack of understanding of basic property law, that they are “just security guards. What do you expect?” (Then everyone laughed.)

There’s really several morals to this story:

Two years ago, three other people and I were arrested for simply writing on sidewalks with “sidewalk” chalk. In total, five of us faced bogus and ridiculous graffiti charges that could have potentially resulted in four years of jail time. Although we’d been harassed a pretty good amount prior to the arrests and for some time after, at this point whenever the police show up, they generally tell us we are doing nothing wrong and then leave.

Because Fuck You (I'm Batman)

Because Fuck You (I’m Batman)

Part of that is undoubtedly due to the lawsuit we filed over those arrests citing the prior harassment. However, the fact that we were vindicated in our original case made it clear that chalking on public sidewalks is not illegal and that the arrests were nothing but harassment, retaliation and intimidation tactics by the LVMPD against someone who was legally and peacefully protesting against their crimes and total lack of accountability. Metro has no choice, but to avoid making that mistake again and they’ve let their officers know that. That’s why it is important to know and exercise your rights.

Even though private security guards aren’t actually cops, they do, or think they can do, many of the functions that police perform. Therefore, it’s important to ensure they understand the laws and rights of people. Although security guards are more likely to be punished for their crimes, especially use of force crimes (and since they aren’t a product of a coercive monopoly there are options available to ensure they are held accountable, even if their employers aren’t willing to do so of their own volition), it’s just as important to ensure they (or anyone in general) know and are following the law and the Constitution.

And lastly, if you’re going to claim you aren’t “a stupid security guard” because you have a degree in criminal justice, perhaps you should crack open a legal dictionary or attend a real college. That way you might know the basics about property law and the First Amendment, instead of looking like a stupid security guard.

Click for related Know Your Rights videos and content.

Click for related Know Your Rights videos and content.


Watch the full, unedited raw video:

11 Comments

Update on 2015 National “Chalk the Police State” Day Locations

Tears Whiny Authoritarianism vs ChalkThe Third Annual Chalk the Police State Day events are all set to go tomorrow, Saturday July 18th. Hopefully, you’ve already seen Ademo’s recent post with advice and tips and are already all set to go for tomorrow. Because of the ease and impromptu nature of chalk protests it’s not too late to get involved in your own town, though.

In fact, even Cop Unblock got in on the chalking fun a few days ago. So here is a current list of all the cities that will be participating. If there is already a group chalking in your city, you should join them. If there isn’t you should round up some friends that care about police accountability and get out there.

Note: this year Chalk the Police State Day will be dedicated to Brian Sumner, an awesome CopBlocker from Fresno, who is actually on trial right now on bogus vandalism charges stemming from a chalk protest he did last year. Since chalk doesn’t do any actual damage and it has been ruled several times, including by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over Fresno), that chalk messages are protected free speech under the First Amendment and that something that simply requires a little cleaning up isn’t considered property damage, what Brian is really being charged with is hurting the delicate feelings of the police.

Of course, it looks bad for them if they right that on a police report. So they have to make stuff up and waste the courts’ time and your money on ridiculous charges. (If you are in the Fresno area, the courthouse where this nonsense is being held would be a good location for a Fresno Chalk the police State Day event.#JusSayin)

Current List of Cities Participating

Chalk Police State NationalThe National Facebook Event Page has been set up through the CopBlock Network Facebook page to organize and coordinate events across the country. If you want to find out information in general about chalk the Police State Day events, this would be a good place to ask. Also, if you have your own Facebook Event page for a local event and it’s not already listed here, you should share it there so others in your area can find out where and when they can join up with you.

Chalk Police State Las VegasLas Vegas, NV.Chalk the Police State Day in Las Vegas will be held at the Regional Injustice Center at 2oo Lewis Ave. It begins at 6pm

Chalk Police State IndianapolisIndianapolis, IN.Chalk the Police State 2015 in Indianapolis will be held at the Indianapolis City Market, which is located at 222 E. Market St. It begins at noon.

Chalk Police State ClevelandCleveland OH.Chalk the Police State Day in Cleveland will be held at the Justice Center, which is located at 100 powers Blvd. It Begins at noon.

Chalk Police State MinneapolisMinneapolis, MN.Chalk the Police State Minneapolis will be held at the Minneapolis Federal Building, which is located at 212 3rd Ave. S. It begins at 3pm.

Chalk Police State ChicagoChicago, IL.National Chalk the Police Day in Chicago will be held at the James R. Thompson Center, which is located at 100 W. Randolph St. It begins at noon.

Chalk Police State Lehigh ValleyBethlehem, PA. – The time and place for Chalk the Police Day Lehigh Valley are not being released publicly. You can contact Lehigh Valley Cop Block via their Facebook page for the details.

Chalk Police State SalemSalem, OR.Chalk the Police State Salem will begin at Noon. (See the Facebook event for location and other details).

Chalk Police State SeattleSeattle WA.Chalk the Police State Seattle will be held at the King County Courthouse, which is located at 516 Third Ave. It begins at noon.

Other Places: Although there are no Facebook events (that I’m aware of) set up for them, several additional places have indicated they will be participating in Chalk the Police State Day events. This includes Portland, OR., Baltimore, MD., Keene, NH., Hollywood, CA., and Victoria, BC. There’s even rumors that a group in Germany will be chalking tomorrow.

Click banner to learn more about filming the police

Click banner to learn more about filming the police

And Don’t Forget to Watch all these Videos:

Chalk the Police State Promo:

Brian Chalks the Police:

Manchester Chalking 8 Arrest:

Chalking the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department:

CopUnblock Even Gets in on the Action

PAST VIDEOS OF CHALK THE POLICE DAY:

LAS VEGAS, NV:

KEENE, NH:

QUARTZSITE, AZ:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN:

banner-flyers

7 Comments

“Chalk the Police State” with the CopBlock Network on July 18th

Chalk The Police StateTime for the Third Annual “Chalk the Police State” Day is fast approaching on July 18th. Like previous years, Nevada Cop Block and the CopBlock Network would like to make this a national event with as many cities as possible making a statement about police brutality and accountability, as well as the continuing militarization and expansion of police forces and governments.

Originally, the call for Chalk the Police State Day was put out by members of Nevada Cop Block, dubbed the “Sunset 5” after we were arrested for legally and peacefully protesting (see below for more details). However, the use of chalk in Cop Block protests actually dates back to the “Manchester 8” arrests in 2011 and two subsequent annual “Chalk the Police Day” events. It was through participation in those that members of Nevada Cop Block  found out how useful and effective chalk protests could be. So, technically this could be called the fifth annual chalk protest by members of the CopBlock Network nationwide.

#BlueLiesMatter

#BlueLiesMatter

The number of people killed by police this year alone already stands at 590 (and counting rapidly), with the per day average death toll being three people. Of those nearly 600 people whose lives have ended at the hands of the police, some of them have gotten a lot of attention and inspired massive protests. But for every Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, John Crawford, Kelly Thomas, Walter Scott, and Tamir Rice, there are many others, such as Michael Nida, Stanley Gibson, Manuel Diaz, Danielle Willard, and Erik Scott, in your own communities that don’t get the same sort of national attention.

July 18th will be an opportunity for local groups to highlight police brutality on a national level. You can choose who to talk about with a national audience ready to listen via the CopBlock Network.

As a tool of protest, chalk has many advantages:

  • Chalk protests require very little preplanning: No routes have to be picked, no streets or traffic have to be blocked to accommodate that route, no signs have to be made or transported, and no leaders have to be picked to coordinate all of that. Basically, you just pick a location and hand out some chalk. People can decide for themselves (another advantage) what and how much they want to write. The most complicated part of the planning is making sure someone picks up enough chalk that day. In fact, chalk protests can be very spontaneous and unscheduled. Some members of NVCopBlock have been known to carry chalk on them just in case the need for an impromptu protest presents itself. No “conspiring” is necessary.
  • Chalk allows small groups to make a big impact: One of the biggest advantages to chalk protests is the ability it creates for a small determined group to maximize their impact. While we hope that lots of people show up everywhere, the truth is you don’t need 100 people with signs to get the message out. Instead, within a relatively short amount of time a small number of people can write out multiple messages each. Anybody walking past the location of the protest will see those messages, even if you don’t have 50 people to hold individual signs. In fact, the activity of drawing usually creates curiosity among people in the area and grabs their attention. Many of them want to come and see what all the commotion is about.
  • Forty Feet of InjusticeChalk allows for a lasting visual impact: One of the staples of chalk protests, especially amongst members of Nevada Cop Block have been taking photos of the messages chalked. As an extension of the artistic nature of the chalk itself, it creates powerful visual imagery that transcends the protest. Even if the chalk messages are quickly (and easily) cleaned up right afterwards, those images and their thousand words live on. Sharing those photos via the internets and social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, etc., allows people throughout the country and even worldwide that didn’t actually attend the protest to see and pass along those messages. In fact, when those of us from Nevada Cop Block were arrested back in 2013, the Associated Press and other media outlets used my photos from previous protests in their stories. The LVMPD was soon faced with the rather unpleasant reality that the statements they were trying to suppress about how often they murdered people and how non-existent their accountability for those murders was were popping up in newspapers and websites all across the United States. That included the front page of the local papers.
  • Chalk is very easy: Most people drew on sidewalks as a child and, even if you didn’t, it’s not exactly hard to figure out how to write stuff. And oftentimes in the past there have even been children, who can give you some pointers, at Cop Block’s chalk protests.
  • Chalk is fun: Drawing with chalk allows people to be creative and express themselves in the process of protesting. You’re not just limited to walking around shouting slogans and holding signs.
  • Chalk is cheap: The cost of a chalk protest basically consists of a few boxes of chalk and not much else. Those can be easily and very inexpensively found in most department stores or art/toy stores. You probably spend more on dinner most days than you will on a chalk protest.
  • Chalk doesn’t cause damage: Most of the false claims regarding “damage” caused by chalk protests are based on the clean up costs involved once the protests are over and the police (or other target of the protest) no longer want to have their crimes highlighted on the public sidewalks for the world to see. However, the truth is that chalk is very easily cleaned up with nothing but water. In fact, the simple act of pouring water on the chalk usually is enough to remove it. Beyond that, it doesn’t even actually have to be cleaned up. It isn’t in anyone’s way, nor does it prevent anyone from going about their business in a usual manner if they want to. The only real reason somebody would want to remove it before the wind, rain, or even people just walking over it would do so naturally would be if they didn’t want to have a spotlight shined on their bad behaviour and lack of accountability.
  • Chalk is Free Speech: Several courts in various parts of the country have already ruled that sidewalks are considered public forums and that chalk in fact doesn’t cause any real damage. Therefore, writing out criticisms of police and other governmental officials is a legal and protected form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Chalk Arrests Las VegasJuly 18th marks the two year anniversary of when members of Nevada Cop Block called for the first Chalk the Police State Day amid the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s attempts to shut down legal, peaceful anti-police brutality protests involving chalk throughout the Las Vegas area. Those attempts at intimidation, harassment, and retaliation against people bringing attention to their crimes eventually led to the arrests of three people and charges against two others for the non-crimes of writing on the sidewalk with chalk and conspiring to do so.

Although the “graffiti” charges were dropped shortly after, amid a large and vocal public uproar locally, the intent to silence criticism was fairly obvious. In addition, that obviousness and the blatant overreach it represented actually resulted in more publicity for the lack of accountability and blatant murders by the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police departments than the original protests ever had. Their inflation of (unnecessary) clean up costs to justify making arrests, rather than giving out citations, and the possibility of a four year sentence that some of those arrested potentially faced brought attention nationally.

Chalk Protest Las VegasSince that time, Nevada Cop Block has held countless chalk protests throughout Las Vegas and even other parts of the country. The effectiveness and ease of chalk protests have led to it being our primary choice for political actions. Also, although some people were too afraid to take part after the initial arrests and there have been many instances of harassment during subsequent protests, as of yet there have been no additional arrests associated with chalking. In fact, in some ways the media coverage it created has enabled us to get our message out even more effectively via interviews and the spread of chalk protests among other groups.

Last year, thirteen different groups from all over the country participated in Second Annual Chalk the Police State Day. With the spread of the CopBlock Network over the years into ever more cities and even internationally, it shouldn’t really be hard to get even more out onto the sidewalks this year. July 18th will be a day for everyone who is tired of police brutality and and the occupying armies that local police are rapidly turning into, regardless of where you are, to let them know that we won’t tolerate them any longer within our communities and against our friends and families.

Bring attention to those high profile national cases, highlight the abuses by your own local police departments, and put everyone responsible for them on notice that we are watching and the days of waiting are rapidly nearing an end. Bring so much attention to their crimes that they have no choice, but to create meaningful change.

The CopBlock Network Facebook event page for the National Chalk the Police State Day is located here:

If you haven’t already “liked” the CopBlock Network’s Facebook page, you should in order to get updates. Ideally, each individual city should set up their own event page (such as this Las Vegas invite) to coordinate locally. However, you should also invite everyone you believe would want to participate (and stop hanging out with people that won’t) to the national event, especially those from a different city than you, in order to get the word out to as many people as possible.

Find a CopBlock Group near you!

Find a CopBlock Group near you!

17 Comments

Happy Birthday to Us! Nevada Cop Block Just Turned Three Years Old

Nevada Cop Block Birthday Cake

The original version of this photo (and the cake in it) is courtesy of Greater Cleveland Cop Block.

June 4th is what I would consider to be the three year anniversary of the founding of Nevada Cop Block, back in 2012. Technically, NVCopBlock.org launched a few weeks earlier on May 25th, when I posted a “Help Wanted” request asking if anybody was interested in getting involved with the website. There were a few other posts within the next few days, but that consisted of police-related reposts from my personal blog, EYEAM4ANARCHY, which I just dumped on the page as filler until I got some actual content ready to post. There had also been some offline actions in the real world, mostly in response to events CopBlock.org had organized and fairly sporadically.

The Motorhome Diaries in Las Vegas

The Motorhome Diaries in Las Vegas circa 2009

However, it was on June 4, 2012 that Pete Eyre formally welcomed us into the Cop Block family (or “Cop Block Network” as we like to call it now) and we were “officially” a local Cop Block affiliate. Prior to that, I had already met Pete and Ademo Freeman during their Las Vegas stop with the Motor Home Diaries (along with Jason Talley) in 2009 and later when they were doing an extended version of that known as Liberty on Tour in 2010 (when I was involved in one of Cop Block’s first call floods), as well as when I went to Porcfest in 2011.

I considered them friends and had a lot of respect for the things they were doing, so I generally did what I could from afar to support whatever projects they were involved in. As a result, I was tangentially involved with Cop Block from somewhat early on, although I hadn’t officially written anything for the site. (I did post a fairly boring video to YouTube using the name “Las Vegas Cop Block,” which was intended more to recruit other people than to impress anyone.) Basically, I had been trying to create a Las Vegas based Cop Block affiliate and doing some filming around town for some time, but that lack of interest from others had kept me from formally announcing one.

Then on December 12, 2011, a friend of mine from high school, Stanley Gibson, was murdered by Jesus Arevalo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department as he sat in his car, unarmed and in no way posing a threat to anyone. That, along with the typical cover-up that soon followed, complete with the smearing of Stanley by those within the LVMPD, was the proverbial final straw and I decided that I would start a Nevada Cop Block affiliate even if I had to do it all by myself. Fortunately, that turned out to not be the case and the formation of a local Cop Block chapter actually attracted others. While, even to this day, I do the vast majority of the writing for this site, NVCopBlock has a fairly good sized group of members and associated groups within Las Vegas that support and contribute to the actions we do around town. In fact, within the past year Reno Cop Block has even joined the ranks of Cop Block affiliates.

banner-square storeOver the past three years, Nevada Cop Block has been one of the most active affiliates partly because Las Vegas area police keep right on killing people and refusing to hold any of their officers accountable, no matter how outrageous the circumstances. We’ve held protests and vigils for the many victims of those murders, including Stanley Gibson, Erik Scott, Trevon Cole, D’Andre Berghardt Jr., Michael Nida, Danielle Willard, Mike Brown, Oscar Grant, Freddie Gray, Antonio Zambrano-Montes and many others, including a dog named Bubba. Most of those have involved using chalk to write messages and tributes on the sidewalks around the places where the protests were held, something that we originally adapted from the national Cop Block, but that soon become “our thing.

And much like what happened in Manchester earlier, in August of 2013 five of our own members (myself included) were arrested on ridiculous graffiti and “conspiracy to commit” graffiti charges. Fortunately, the charges themselves, as well as the monstrously inflated clean up cost of $1550 to wash chalk off a sidewalk, that was used to justify those charges, made it glaringly obvious that our arrests were nothing but an attempt to intimidate us and retaliate against us for the attention we were bringing to Metro’s lack of accountability and affinity for murder. The charges were soon dropped amid a pretty large uproar and the actual effect of those arrests was to bring even more attention to the many, many problems within the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police departments and their wasteful budgets.

All in all, I think it’s fair to say that NVCopBlock has had a good amount of success and positive influence within Las Vegas and even outside of Nevada, during various trips around the country. Although there were many other groups involved the attention that we helped bring to Metro’s crimes and wasteful spending no doubt played some part in former Sheriff Doug Gillespi deciding not to run for re-election and the subsequent defeat of his attempt to raise the sales tax in Clark County (which is largely comprised of Las Vegas and the surrounding area), in order to fund even more cops to harass, beat, and kill people, without any fear of consequences.

There are several ways you can support Nevada Cop Block in our efforts to hold police accountable.

There are several ways you can support Nevada Cop Block.

We’ve had a lot of small victories in these three years and a few big ones. We’ve also made a lot of great connections within the community both local and national. On a personal level, I’m now officially an editor for CopBlock.org and over the past few months the members of the “Cop Block Network” that Ademo has assembled have begun taking the national Cop Block site to a new level that looks to only be headed forward. As a result, I’m actually getting ready to put that “Help Wanted” sign back out there, so I can hopefully find someone to take over some of the day to day activity on NVCopBlock.org.

However, we still very much have our work cut out for us here. The LVMPD has still yet to ever, in the entire 40+ year history of their existence, hold a single police officer accountable for shooting someone, regardless of how suspicious the circumstances are and even when the person being shot was unarmed and completely innocent. That’s not a track record to be proud of, nor is it being a very good “partner with the community.” The police in and around Las Vegas like to talk about how much they are changing, but the results just don’t bear that out. Nevada Cop Block won’t be going away anytime soon. As long as the LVMPD keeps going out of their way to sweep their crimes under the rug, we’ll be there to pull that curtain back.

Liberty BannerHere are some selected highlights from the first three years of NVCopBlock:

(Click the Headline to Go To the Original Post)

June 4, 2012: Pete Eyre Welcomes Nevada Cop Block

Pete Nevada Cop Block ShirtThe debut of Cop Block in Nevada:

The LVMPD, along with other Las Vegas area police departments, has a long and sordid history of beating, killing, and otherwise abusing local residents. Beyond the complete lack of accountability for these actions, the aftermath is often economically costly for the community that they terrorize.

 

Las Vegas: Beware of Gang Activity in Your Neighborhood!

This gang has been very active in downtown Las Vegas recently.

This gang has been very active in downtown Las Vegas recently.

NVCopBlock.org’s first original post:

Most gang members have identifying characteristics unique to their specific clique or gang. Many gang members are proud of their gang and freely admit their membership. Their personal belongings frequently boast the gang’s logo and the member’s gang name. Gangs generally share common characteristics such as the wearing of distinct clothing. However, some individuals on the fringe of gang involvement are reluctant to identify themselves as gang members.

They are usually armed, often unpredictable, travel in overwhelming numbers, and are not above attacking or even killing innocent people that are unlucky enough to be confronted by them. So, interacting with them individually can be very dangerous. If possible, make sure others are present and ALWAYS carry a camera to document any improprieties and ensure a neutral “witness.”

 

 

Sheriff Claims Open Carry is Illegal in Reno

Reno_Open_Carry_ShirtWe don’t actually limit ourselves to Las Vegas:

We bantered back-n-forth a bit and then, when we were about to leave, he said ” If I really wanted to be an ass, I could cite you for open carrying in Reno, because the Reno city ordinance overrides the state law about open carrying in the state of Nevada.” He then went on to tell us we should look it up and probably not open carry anymore and kept saying ”he was pretty sure it overrides the state ordinance.”

When he said that it came off VERY threatening and I wanted to start an argument right then and there, but that probably wouldn’t of been the best idea…

After Henderson Police Beat Man in Diabetic Shock, NV Residents Pay for It

Henderson Police BrutalityA prime example of the lack of accountability in Las Vegas-area police departments:

Once the video surfaced, the people in the community were understandably outraged by the obviously unnecessary nature of the beating inflicted on a visibly restrained man. Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson saw it differently, though. In his initial review of the case, he came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be “in the community’s best interest” to punish Sgt. Seekatz (who has a history of complaints being filed against him predating this case) or any of the other officers because two years had passed since the incident happened.

Not surprisingly, that assessment was met with outrage by the community…

Official Cop Block Press Passes

CopBlockPressPassesWhether they like it or not Cop Block is part of the press:

Over the years, Cop Block has expanded from a small “DIY” style project into a fully functioning independent media outlet with a prominent national online presence and over two-hundred (and counting) satellite organizations located in cities throughout the United States and even beyond those imaginary borders. The establishment of official Cop Block press passes represents the next step in that evolution in which we serve notice to the world that we won’t be marginalized or overlooked, but are asserting ourselves as a legitimate member of the media.

Plus, they look really cool! (BTW, we now have Nevada Cop Block T-shirts, also.)

Las Vegas Metro Police: Chalk Washes Off, But Injustice Never Will

Chalk Washes Off, Injustice Never WillThis was the beginning of the path that eventually led to five of our members being arrested for writing with chalk:

In an obvious and ridiculous attempt to intimidate them into ending their efforts to bring attention to the history of abuses, corruption, and outright murders by Las Vegas area police and a total lack of accountability for such by those that oversee local police departments, three members of the Sunset Activist Collective were given citations for “graffiti” based on writing with washable sidewalk chalk. (See below for video of the incident.)

J.R. Dazo, Kelly W. Patterson, and Ballentine, who have since been dubbed the “Sunset 3” were participating in Nevada Cop Block‘s monthly anti-police brutality protest and vigil known as “Second Saturdays” in front of the LVMPD’s headquarters…

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The LVMPD’s Killer Reputation

Las Vegas Metro Lack of AccountabilityAt the end of this post I tried to warn the LVMPD that it was even in their best interest to hold cops accountable for their crimes. Ironically enough, they arrested me and four other members of NVCopBlock later that day:

Throughout their history, the LVMPD has consistently rated among the highest statistically nationwide (even when compared against cities with much higher populations) in times they have shot at people while on duty and in the level of fatalities resulting from those shootings. Stanley Gibson was just one of the latest names in the laundry list of the victims of Las Vegas police that includes Erik Scott (whose murderers were later given an award for bravery while gunning down someone from behind and then unloading their guns on him as he lay already dying on the ground), Trevon Cole, Orlando Barlow, Tanner Chamberlain, Deshira Selimaj, and Henry Rowe, among the 150+ shootings just since 1990.

Yet not one singular time in the close to forty year history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has a Las Vegas area police officer ever been charged for shooting someone, regardless of whether the person shot was unarmed or even completely innocent of having committed any actual crime.

LVMPD Employees Kidnap/Cage Kelly Patterson & Brian Ballentine for Victimless Action

Arrested for drawing with Chalk

Arrested for drawing with Chalk

And this would be the post about us getting arrested for telling the LVMPD they should hold murderers accountable (although two of us were arrested initially, eventually charges were filed against five members of Nevada Cop Block):

Kelly Patterson & Brian Ballentine were kidnapped last night by employees of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and are now caged at the Clark County Detention Center…

To be clear – Patterson and Ballentine caused no victim. This is a free speech issue. The pair had been outside the headquarters of the LVMPD to participate in the monthly chalking done on the sidewalk to bring attention to the double-standards afforded to some predatory individuals who wear LVMPD badges (for example – in the history of the LVMPD not one employee has been found by internal investigations to have been in the wrong when involved in a shooting).

No “More Cops” for the LVMPD. They Aren’t Needed and They Aren’t Wanted.

Metro displaying just how shorthanded they are on Fremont Street. (Notice the massive, unruly crowd being held back behind them.)Soon after being released we joined with other local groups to fight the “More Cops Tax,” which, as the name implies, was a proposal to raise the sales tax, in order to hire even more cops, in spite of all the wasteful ways they spend the money they already get. It was eventually defeated.

 

A Video Compilation of Las Vegas Police Brutality

Not once, in the entire 40 year history of the LVMPD, has a cop EVER been charged for killing someone, Even when that person was unarmed and or completely innocent.The LVMPD Gone Wild (which is actually kinda their default state):

The video at the bottom of this post, consisting of a compilation of various videos showing past instances of police brutality by members of the LVMPD, was submitted by Jason Nellis and uploaded to his YouTube channel in order to encourage Las Vegas residents to attend a January 21, 2014 Clark County Commission meeting, in which a vote will be held regarding Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s and Commissioner Tom Collins’ continued attempts to force through an increase in the county sales tax to hire even more cops.

Did Las Vegas Police Retaliate Against Nevada Cop Block for Local Activism?

Las Vegas Metro RetaliationA Week of Oddly-Timed “Coincidences”

Two months ago, on March 5th, I was struck by a hit and run driver while walking in downtown Las Vegas. Anybody that’s familiar with Las Vegas traffic knows that in itself isn’t exactly an unusual event. However, a string of incredibly oddly timed and interconnected events surrounding my own incident, including another local activist being hit by a car the previous day, have made many within the local activist community wonder if there wasn’t more to it than just a random car “accident.” In fact, some have even classified it as an assassination attempt by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Personally, I’m putting this out there because I feel that it’s important that people know about it and that there be a public record of it.

LV Constable John Bonaventura Ordered Cover-Up of Illegal Data Searches

John Bonaventura, the Most Corrupt Man in Las Vegas

John Bonaventura, the Most Corrupt Man in Las Vegas

Yeah, the corruption runs deep in Las Vegas:

With the amount of corruption that takes place on a regular basis within Las Vegas area governments, it can be hard to stand out. However, (soon to be former) Las Vegas Constable John Bonaventura and his deputy constables have actually managed to distinguish themselves among the roll call of corrupt officials in Clark County politics and even among the notoriously unaccountable members of Las Vegas law enforcement.

Bonaventura‘s latest scandal involves his cover up of the improper and illegal use of the Lexis Nexis “Accurint” database service to look up personal information on porn actresses by Deputy Chief Dean Lauer.

LVMPD Beat a Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough”

Members of the LVMPD beat a man in downtown Las Vegas because he supposedly didn't walk fast enough.

Members of the LVMPD beat a man in downtown Las Vegas because he supposedly didn’t walk fast enough.

This was later ruled within their policy. (It’s OK though, because they promised not to do it anymore):

Officer Glowinski apparently wasn’t happy with the pace at which a man, named Dominic Generino (possibly spelled differently), was moving and decided to arrest him.

What happened next is that all of the other Metro police in the immediate vicinity dove on and began beating Generino. In particular, one of them, identified as Officer Kolkoski, begins jabbing his nightstick into Generino’s body (the descriptions indicate he is hitting him in the legs, but it’s not real clear exactly where he’s being hit on the video because of the number of cops involved) with such enthusiasm that he looses his balance. The fact Kolkoski knocked himself down and appears to almost injure himself by hitting his head against a nearby table doesn’t seem to diminish that enthusiasm very much, as he subsequently has to be pushed away by another (as of yet unidentified) officer, in order to prevent him from resuming his attack with the nightstick.

Convictions of Sister Megan Rice, and the “Y-12 Three” Overturned

Sister Meghan RiceThe “pacifist terrorists,” who shut down the country’s nuclear weapons storage site were freed:

On May 8th, an appeals court overturned the convictions of Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, members of the “Transform Now Plowshares” movement, on sabotage crimes relating to their acts of civil disobedience against nuclear war and in favor of peace. They also ordered that they be re-sentenced for a lesser crime of “injuring government property,” which was upheld. (They were in fact released with time served.)

Las Vegas Metro Cop Joins the Growing List of Police Pedophiles/Rapists

Patrick Taylor Facing Child Porn Charges

Patrick Taylor Facing Child Porn Charges

It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to even keep up with:

On Wednesday (May 27, 2015), Patrick Taylor turned himself in on charges involving child pornography, stemming from a March 19th raid on his house after investigations by the LVMPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Internal Affairs Bureau. According to Metro, he is being charged with a single count of possession of child pornography and two counts of distribution of child pornography. In spite of the seriousness of those charges, he has been released without bail after his initial court appearance at the Regional Injustice Center in Las Vegas, which took place Wednesday morning. The only conditions being that he promise not to contact his victim or to access the internet or social media.

Anybody that has been paying attention in recent times undoubtedly has noticed that one of the many crimes on the rise within the ranks of police officers are sex crimes. It’s getting rare when even a week goes by that CopBlock.org isn’t posting a story about a cop being caught using their position to rape or in some other way sexually exploit someone. In fact, this isn’t even the only time in recent history that a Las Vegas cop has been caught.

banner-store

2 Comments

Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas – Feb. 26, 2015 (Update)

Insert Coins Condones Violent BouncersThe following press release is being issued by Nevada Cop Block, Southern Nevada Watchdogs, and the Sunset Activist Collective in regards to an event being held in response to a Feb. 12, 2015 incident, in which a man was beaten by security guards employed by Insert Coins on the public sidewalk in front of their business on Fremont Street, in Las Vegas. The egregious nature of that incident, as well as the continued refusal to address the actions

Insert Coins Protest

You Can’t Wash Away the Truth

of their security staff by the management of Insert Coins, has and will continue to prompt actions to bring attention to this incident for as long as is necessary.

You can view the original story about Insert Coins’ overly aggressive and violent bouncers and the condoning of that behavior by Insert Coins owner ,Chris Laporte, here and you can watch the video of them beating a man while he is already lying on the ground defenseless here. The Facebook invite page for this event can be found here. Join us and bring your dancing shoes.
Dance Dance Revolution at Insert Coins

It’s the Real Dance, Dance Revolution!

8:30 PM Thursday, February 26th
On the public sidewalk in front of Insert Coin(s) – Located at 512 E. Fremont St.

This is no game, but we know how to have fun with a serious matter. Since word spread about the homeless man getting beat up outside Insert Coin(s) by security (full story and link to video are included below), word of a potential dance protest has also spread and this Thursday, Insert Coin(s) is holding a weekly “futurefunk” show where the flyer states “Dancers Welcome.” Dancing is surely being encouraged. So it is time. Bring your dance moves, no need to be a good dancer or even have any experience. We can dance if we want to, on the public sidewalk outside their property, without having to fear that their bouncers will beat us.

Our goals are for Insert Coin(s) to:
1) Terminate those responsible for brutality perpetrated on a member of the community.
2) Formal apology to the brutalized party
3) Drop the charges against the brutalized party
4) Formal retraction of defamation against the injuries party for wrongful, unsubstantiated accusations of misconduct.

As well as for the general public including the downtown community:
5) To be able to walk, dance, stand or sit on public sidewalks without fear of retribution, retaliation or brutality.

Backstory:

Recently, an unidentified (at this point) man was beaten and then choked while he was already on the ground by security guards working for Insert Coins outside the bar on the public sidewalk. Although it doesn’t show what happened immediately before on the public video, it’s been reported that the security guard involved in the beating was the instigator, based on the surveillance tape.

Regardless of whatever might have happened beforehand, beating and choking someone after they are already on the ground and rendered defenseless by three bouncers is wrong and it is pretty clear that that is what is happening in the video. Further, a fourth bouncer attempted to prevent a witness from recording the assault. later a fifth bouncer, who actually works for the Griffin (across the street), took that witnesses phone away from him, broke it, and assaulted him as well, in order to keep it from being recorded.

Finally, an officer from the LVMPD, who was responding to the call, refused to talk to the witness, view the video he told him he had, or in any way try to discern what had happened. Instead he told that witness to “get the [email protected]!! out of here!” and arrested the person that had been beaten.

YouTube Description from attorney Stephen Stubbs:
“On the evening of February 12, 2015, A man (who appeared to be homeless and/or under the influence of drugs/alcohol) was dancing on the sidewalk in front of Insert Coins on Fremont Street.

Security guards were yelling at him to leave and the dancing man ignored them (continued dancing). When the Security guards taunted the dancing man to attack them, my client (who does not wish to come forward with his identity) took out his phone and started recording.

A security guard attacked the dancing man, beat him up and continued to choke and beat him even after he was lying motionless on the ground. A plain closed security guard tried to obstruct my client from videotaping the incident and even physically pushed him away.

A security guard from the Griffin on Fremont then crossed the street, attacked my client, grabbed his phone and smashed it on the ground (destroying it).

8 Comments

Free Radical Movie Night Screening – “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle” Fri. Oct. 24th

Oct. 24th Radical Movie Night “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle

Oct. 24th Radical Movie Night

September’s debut of the Las Vegas Radical Movie Night went well enough that we will now be doing two showings per month. So, on every second and fourth Friday of the month the Sunset Activist Collective (along with Nevada Cop Block and Food Not Bombs Las Vegas) will host a free screening of either a documentary or a movie with significant social value.

The location where Radical Movie Nights will take place is The Sci Fi Center, which many locals already know from its longstanding tradition for showing independent movies and cult classics that are often not available in a large screen setting. (Disclaimer: the Sci Fi Center is not actually involved in the Radical Movie Nights, outside of permitting us to use it as a venue for showing movies.)

In order to coincide with the national Day of Action Against Police Brutality, which is held annually on Oct. 22nd (for more info see: http://www.october22.org/) October’s screenings will involve movies that relate to police abuses. On October 24th we will be showing “30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle” a documentary about the demonstrations during the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle in 1999 and the police response to those demonstrations. (RSVP on Facebook here)

This film was one of the first to show large scale demonstrations from the perspective of those within the demonstrations. It also was in many cases the first time the average viewer saw uncensored and candid depictions of police tactics toward protesters and the way in which they often incited or even staged incidents within the protests in order to justify arresting and in many cases assaulting even peaceful protesters.

30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle

The level of organization, number of people participating, and type of tactics involved were all beyond what had been seen during any modern protests in the United States. For many years afterwards the “Battle of Seattle,” as it is often referred, was used as a sort of template for demonstrations both by protesters and the police.

About the Movie via Bullfrog Films (http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/30fr.html):

“30 Frames A Second: The WTO in Seattle, is a compelling first-person account of the events that unfolded during the week the World Trade Organization came to Seattle in November of 1999. It’s told from the perspective of 15-year veteran network news cameraman Rustin Thompson, who covered the WTO as an independent journalist. It is the story of how Thompson’s objective point-of-view evolved into a subjective account of what became an unscheduled, unruly outbreak of democracy.

Thompson, who had press credentials for the event, takes the viewer into the fray of tear gas, pepper spray, and police abuse; behind the lines and inside the convention center and press rooms; and along the marches, sit-ins, and demonstrations. His dynamic, up-close footage captures the passion, the confusion, the anger, and the courage of everyone involved, from protesters to police to delegates to bureaucrats.

Radical Movie Nights: Every 2nd and 4th Friday

With Thompson narrating, the film asks viewers to emotionally engage their own conflicting feelings about the demonstrations and behind-closed-doors meetings. “I was intrigued by taking a singular, personal approach to the events,” says Thompson, as he recounts how the protests affected him as a journalist and a common citizen. The result is an impressionistic journal of a decisive week that exploded into a massive expression of freedom: of speech, of assembly, and the press.”

Awards:

ALA Video Round Table’s 2001 Notable Video for Adults

Chris Award, Columbus International Film Festival

Best Documentary, Portland Festival of World Cinema

Gold Jury Prize, Chicago Underground Film Festival

Best Documentary, Seattle Underground Film Festival

Most Inspirational Short Film, Reel to Real International Film Festival

Taos Talking Picture Festival

Northwest Film and Video Festival

Further Information:

Watch the Trailer: http://youtu.be/K2vOnKyxYik

Check out the director’s website: http://www.whitenoiseproductions.com/

Leave a comment

Free Radical Movie Night Screening of “Let the Fire Burn” Oct. 10th

October Radical Movie Night – “Let the Fire Burn”

 Radical Movie Night in Las Vegas

(via KellyWPatterson.com)

September’s debut of the Las Vegas Radical Movie Night went very well. In fact, it went well enough that we will now be doing two showings per month. So, on every second and fourth Friday of the month at 6:00 pm, the Sunset Activist Collective will host a free screening of either a documentary or a movie with significant social value.

The location where Radical Movie Nights take place is The Sci Fi Center, which many locals already know from its longstanding tradition for showing independent movies and cult classics that are often not available in a large screen setting. (Disclaimer: the Sci Fi Center is not actually involved in the Radical Movie Nights, outside of permitting us to use it as a venue for showing movies.)

In order to coincide with the National Day of Action Against Police Brutality, which is held annually on Oct. 22nd (for more info see: http://www.october22.org/) October’s screenings will involve movies that relate to police abuses. On October 10th, we will be showing “Let the Fire Burn” a documentary about the Philadelphia police department’s response to a group known as the MOVE Organization, which was a radical black liberation group that practiced anarcho-primitivism, during two raids in 1978 and 1985.

Delbert Africa is arrested by police after the 1978 gun battle.

This film raises many questions about the tendency of governments and law enforcement to use legitimate complaints as an opportunistic excuse to go after people or groups they dislike and the heavy-handed ways in which they often do so. As the movie shows, the members of MOVE were very bad neighbors and made things difficult for those living around them. However, the Philadelphia Police Department’s “solution” resulted in most of those neighbors losing their homes when a fire ignited by a police bomb burned 61 surrounding buildings. In addition, 11 of the 13 MOVE members living there , including 5 children, were killed by that fire, which was intentionally allowed to burn until it was out of control.

Further, those residents’ and the city’s years long battle over poorly constructed and massively over budget replacement homes highlights the often corrupt and crony driven nature of politics. One might be tempted to ask if they were actually better off with their noisy neighbors. It certainly does beg the question of whether there were many, many better options to resolve the issues.

About the Movie (via: http://LetTheFireBurn.com)

Let the Fire Burn

“In the astonishingly gripping ‘Let the Fire Burn,’ director Jason Osder has crafted that rarest of cinematic objects: a found-footage film that unfurls with the tension of a great thriller. On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial radical urban group MOVE came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated—and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. It was only later discovered that authorities decided to ‘…let the fire burn.’ Using only archival news coverage and interviews, first-time filmmaker Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history.”

Awards:

Winner – Best Editing in a Documentary Feature – Tribeca Film Festival

Special Jury Mention – Best New Documentary Director – Tribeca Film Festival

Director Jason Osder was named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in Filmmaker Magazine July 2013.

Further Information:

The Aftermath

Watch the Trailer: http://youtu.be/-v5ZXAxTGHg

Check out the official website: http://www.letthefireburn.com/

The website of the MOVE Organization: http://onamove.com/

On Cop Block:

Philadelphia – The City That Bombed Itself: http://www.copblock.org/745/pete-visits-the-city-that-bombed-itself/

3 Comments