FREEDOM FORUM:   From Boston to St Louis: Jail the Guilty Cops! Thursday 10/12 7-9pm 391 Dudley Street Roxbury, MA 02119 (nearest MBTA stations:  Dudley Square-Silver Line & Bus station; Roxbury Crossing-Orange Line)

RALLY & MARCH: Boston Takes a Knee For Justice Sunday, October 29, 1pm Gathering Point: Massachusetts State House 24 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02108

COURT SUPPORT- In the Trial of David Wright Free David Wright!  Drop the Charges!  Pack the Courtroom! Wednesday-Friday 10/11-13 9am-1pm US Courthouse 1 Courthouse Way Boston, MA

Meet The People Who’ve Made It Their Mission To Film Incidents Of Police Brutality

Ramsey Orta in Copwatch.

The men who filmed the deaths of Eric Garner and Freddie Grey are the subjects of a new documentary.

BY: Jarett Wieselman

The names Eric Garner and Freddie Grey have become synonymous with the United States’ endemic issues with police brutality and racial injustice. Footage of Garner’s and Grey’s deaths at the hands of police officers was captured by bystanders — the former in 2014, the latter in 2015 — and spread quickly around the globe, becoming a call to arms for the Black Lives Matter movement.

And while Garner and Grey’s names are now emblematic, very few people have heard of Ramsey Orta and Kevin Moore, the men who captured Garner and Grey’s deaths on camera.

Kevin Moore in Copwatch.

Now, with her documentary Copwatch, journalist and filmmaker Camilla Hall is shining a light on Orta, Moore, and the team of like-minded citizen activists who make up WeCopwatch, a grassroots organization that films on-duty police officers in the hopes of deterring future police brutality–related deaths.

Hall had been researching police brutality for a different documentary when she discovered that both Orta and Moore had been arrested shortly after their videos went viral. Orta was arrested several times following Garner’s death and is currently incarcerated after taking a plea deal related to drug and gun charges; Moore was arrested less than one month after Grey’s death while filming a protest for WeCopwatch. He was later released. Both men claim their arrests were retaliation for the videos they recorded.

“I thought, Wellwhat’s going on here? Why is nobody asking these questions? Because this is a story that needs to be told,” Hall told BuzzFeed News.

But telling that story wasn’t easy. Orta’s lawyers quickly — and repeatedly — declined Hall’s requests for interviews. Eventually, she discovered that Orta had begun to work with WeCopwatch and a colleague put her in touch with Jacob Crawford, the organization’s co-founder. “Jacob, as much as he doesn’t show that prominently in the documentary, behind the scenes, he’s doing so much to actually create a platform for other people,” Hall said. “He’s somebody who has really taught a lot of the guys the importance of how to store video, saving it, backing it up — not just filming. It’s all the boring stuff of backing it up, putting it somewhere secure, and dealing with the judicial system when necessary and helping people to navigate that.”

Orta and Moore in Copwatch.

With Crawford’s blessing, Hall and her team embedded with WeCopwatch for nearly a year, following Orta, Moore, and their colleagues as they policed the police from fall 2015 to October 2016. “There was a lot of nervousness around opening up, around letting people in because they have experienced surveillance and we had to be there to gain that trust,” Hall said. “It was actually very important to the subjects of the documentary that we understood what it was like and we actually went through the paces with them … to show that we were willing to be in the trenches with them, that we weren’t going to just fly in and stay in a fancy hotel and dip in and out of their lives; there was very much a need to connect personally to be able to tell this story.”

That meant Hall and her team were also on the front lines of WeCopwatch’s fight; often filming the confrontations police officers had with Orta and Moore. “It definitely changed my view personally,” she said. “I come from the UK where officers are not armed to the same degree; we also don’t have the same levels of gun violence. That’s very alien to me and quite terrifying to experience, to be honest. It’s hard to show in the film the level of sacrifice these guys have made. It’s almost to the detriment of themselves; they do kind of tend to drop everything for somebody else. It’s incredibly inspiring to see people who are willing to do that.”

Camilla Hall, director of Copwatch.

Hall hopes watching Orta, Moore, and the team in action will inspire others to follow their lead. “If you see an incident with the police, take out your camera,” she said. “You have the ability to document what’s going on and you have the chance to, perhaps, be supporting somebody who may not be of the same privilege as you. It could be anyone who is going through that experience but you have the choice to stand there and to witness it and to provide support.”

Hall described her documentary as “simply just a plea for humanity.” “A plea to look out for each other; to look out for your neighbor. To not walk by when something terrible is happening to somebody else and taking that active decision to look out for one another,” she continued. “I think it’s just something we’ve lost to some degree. These have to be active decisions. Even if we change the way one person behaves, that’s something to celebrate at this point.”

Edited foe mb3-org.com

Catalonia protests: Tens of thousands stage demos against police violence during independence referendum

Barcelona: People raise arms and shout during a demonstration two days after the banned independence referendum

Catalonia’s leader said the region would declare independence in a matter of days

By: HATTY COLLIER

Tens of thousands of activists took to the streets of Catalonia in protest against police violence during the outlawed independence referendum.

Metro stations shut down in Barcelona and traffic, public transport and businesses were disrupted as pickets blocked dozens of roads after trade unions called a strike in the wake of the violence.

Nearly 900 people were hurt as police struck voters with batons and dragged them along the streets as they tried to stop the referendum on Sunday.

The vote had been deemed illegal by the Madrid government and the country’s top court, but was backed by the Catalan regional authorities.

Catalonia’s leader Carles Puigdemont told the BBC that the region would declare independence in a matter of days.

A protester outside Downing Street, in Westminster (PA)

He said that his government would “act at the end of this week or the beginning of the next”.

If the Spanish government tries to intervene, he said it would be an “error which changes everything”.

In solidarity with Catalans, a few hundred people gathered outside Downing Street in London to demonstrate against the police violence and call for Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy to resign.

On Tuesday, about 300,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona to march in protest, the news agency AFP quoted city police as saying.

Activists march down Via Layetana street next to the city’s major Spanish police station in Barcelona (AP)

Barcelona FC, the city’s football club, joined the strike, saying it would close for the day and none of its teams would train. Carmaker SEAT was forced to shut a production line.

To the north of Barcelona, a line of tractors moved down a road blocked to traffic, accompanied by protesters chanting “Independence!” and “The streets will always be ours!”

Groups of firemen marched and played bagpipes in Barcelona as people cheered them.

Demonstrations: Protests were held across Catalonia on Tuesday after police violence during the independence referendum (REUTERS)

People entwined flowers into the gates of Ramon Llull school, where Spanish police clashed with those wanting to vote in the banned referendum on Sunday.

Barcelona tourist attractions such as museums and architect Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia church, were shut.

https://players.brightcove.net/1348423965/ry1EpNEZ-_default/index.html?videoId=5594792824001&customParams=videoID%3A5594792824001%3BarticleId%3A3649836%3Bgs_channels%3Ags_politics_misc%2Csafe_aegis%2Ces_commuters_jul16_krux-audience%2Cgv_crime%2Cgv_death_injury%2Cgv_arms%3Bplayertype%3Aclicktoplay%3Btopictags%3Acatalonia%2Cspain&customTargeting=%2F71347885%2F_main_eveningstandard%2Fes_news%2Fes_world%2Fes_world_article
Catalonia referendum: Hundreds injured as police fire rubber bullets at protesters

Outside Downing Street in London, activists carried placards which read: “Stop the repression. Rajoy must go” and chanted: “Rajoy, hear us say ‘State violence, no way’. Theresa May, hear us say ‘State violence, no way”‘.

Marc Delcort Fradera, who is based in the UK but returned to Barcelona to vote at the weekend, said he had felt moved to “mobilise” following the violence.

He said: “When I woke up on Sunday I just couldn’t believe. I was expecting some kind of repression by the Spanish police but I didn’t expect that much repression and violence.”

He added: “It’s (tonight is) the first demonstration I’ve been to. After what I saw yesterday and Sunday I decided I wanted to do something and start mobilising because something has to change.”

Protests: Thousands of people demonstrate at University square, in downtown Barcelona, on October 3 (EPA)

Catalonia, Spain’s richest region, has its own language and culture and a political movement for independence that has strengthened in recent years.

Pro-independence parties who control the regional government staged Sunday’s referendum in defiance of Spanish courts that had ruled it illegal.

Hundreds were injured on polling day when police fired rubber bullets and charged at crowds with truncheons to disrupt the vote.

Those who participated voted overwhelmingly for independence, a result that was expected since residents who favour remaining part of Spain mainly boycotted the vote.

Opinion polls conducted before the vote suggested only a minority of around 40 per cent of residents in the region back independence. But a majority wanted a referendum to be held, and protesters said the violent police crackdown against the ballot had energised the breakaway camp.

“What happened on October 1 has fired up independence feeling that will never die,” said 18-year-old student Monica Ventinc, who attended a protest on Tuesday.

Spain’s King Felipe VI gave a televised address to the nation at 9pm local time (7pm UK time) on Tuesday after he met the prime minister to discuss the situation in Catalonia.

He said the “irresponsible behaviour” of Catalan leaders put Spain’s economic stability at risk.

The king added that the state needs to ensure constitutional order and the rule of law in Catalonia.

Spain’s King Felipe VI delivers a televised address (AP)

He said that the bid by authorities in the north-eastern region to push ahead with independence has “undermined coexistence” in Catalonia.

“Today, Catalan society is fractured and confronted,” Felipe said, referring to the political crisis as “very serious moments for our democratic life”.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has said the referendum is valid and its result must be implemented. Spain’s Constitutional Court prohibited the ballot, siding with Madrid which argued that it contravened the country’s 1978 constitution which bars breaking up the country.

The referendum has plunged Spain into its worst constitutional crisis in decades, and is a political test for Mr Rajoy, a conservative who has taken a hardline stance on the issue.

Outside of Catalonia, Spaniards mostly hold strong views against its independence drive.

Edited for mb3-org.com

More than 80 arrested as riot police break up St. Louis protest over officer’s acquittal

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) – More than 80 people were arrested on Sunday night as protests in St Louis over the acquittal of a white policeman who had shot a black man turned violent for a third night running.

Police in riot gear used pepper spray and arrested the demonstrators who had defied orders to disperse following a larger, peaceful protest.

After nightfall, a small group remained and the scene turned to one of disorder, following the pattern of Friday and Saturday. Protesters smashed windows and attempted to block a ramp to an interstate highway, police and witnesses said.

Officers tackled some protesters who defied police orders and used pepper spray before starting the mass arrests.

At a late-night news conference, Mayor Lyda Krewson noted that “the vast majority of protesters are non-violent,” and blamed the trouble on “a group of agitators.”

Acting police commissioner Lawrence O‘Toole struck a hard stance, saying: “We’re in control, this is our city and we’re going to protect it.”

The protests in St Louis followed the acquittal on Friday of former police officer Jason Stockley, 36, of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, 24.

The violence evoked memories of the riots following the 2014 shooting of a black teenager by a white officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri.

Police reported confiscating weapons including handguns and recovered plastic spray bottles containing an unknown chemical that hit officers, who were then decontaminated.

“This is no longer a peaceful protest,” St. Louis police said on Twitter earlier.

Protesters broke large ceramic flowerpots and threw chunks of the ceramic at storefront windows.

Sunday’s gathering was the largest of the three nights with more 1,000 protesters. Police in turn deployed their largest show of force, as officers in riot gear marched through the streets.

“Do they think this will make us feel safe?” said Keisha Lee of Ferguson, shaking her head.

Police ordered a group of news photographers to stand up against a wall. One, Kenny Bahr, was working on assignment for Reuters and posted the incident live on Facebook until he was placed in handcuffs when he turned off his video. The photographers were released after about 30 minutes.

Earlier in the evening a handful of demonstrators threw bottles in response to a police officer making arrests.

As people converged on an unmarked police car holding one suspect, an officer drove through the crowd in reverse to escape, police said. No injuries were reported.

The protests began on Friday shortly after the acquittal on Friday, when 33 people were arrested and 10 officers injured.

Violence flared anew on Saturday night when about 100 protesters, some holding bats or hammers, shattered windows and skirmished with police in riot gear, resulting in at least nine arrests. Sunday’s arrests again followed earlier peaceful, and far larger, protests.

More serious clashes broke out in 2014 in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, following the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer who was not indicted.

The Ferguson protests gave rise to Black Lives Matter, a movement that has staged protests across the United States.

An informal group known as the Ferguson frontline has organized the protests, focusing on what it describes as institutional racism that has allowed police to be cleared of criminal wrongdoing in several shootings of unarmed black men.

“Windows can be replaced. Lives can‘t,” said Missy Gunn, a member of Ferguson frontline and mother of three including a college-age son. She said she feared for him every night.

Smith was shot in his car after Stockley and his partner chased him following what authorities said was a drug deal. Prosecutors argued that Stockley planted a weapon in Smith’s car, but the judge believed the gun belonged to Smith.

Source:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-missouri-crime/more-than-80-arrested-as-riot-police-break-up-st-louis-protest-over-officers-acquittal-idUSKCN1BQ161

Edited for mb3-org.com