Copwatch heads Downtown on Saturday night
Below is an e-mail interview with Derek Minno Bloom, one of the founders of Albuquerque's Copwatch. The Alibi talked to him in September, when the organization was getting started. I checked in earlier this week to see how things are going with the citizen observation group.
How many times has the group formally gone out?
Fives times now.
How many of you go?
Anywhere from eight to four. This week we should have 12 or so.
Do you have Copwatch shirts so you're easily identified?
Not yet. We always have one person who is the intervener and announces ourselves to the APD and person who is being arrested or detained.
What has the reaction been?
For the most part real good. The people love us. We hand out flyers and a lot of the responses are either: This is great, thanks for your work; some type of police harassment story, or just a plain and simple "Fuck the police." (Normally people who have said this have had a few drinks.)
APD has been very respectful. One officer even thanked us for our work and said that APD does need to be held accountable.
Some police officers have refused to give us their names or badge numbers, which is illegal: We have the right to know who our public servants are in the U.S. But that has been the worst of it.
Have you seen anything important?
We have seen that a lot of APD officers do their job very professionally. Who knows if that is because we are there with a camera or not? We have also seen that we have a chance to break up fights before APD gets to the scene. We have also seen that a lot of people are not aware of there rights, so it has been good to have lots of conversations about our rights. We have been able to tell people their rights while they were interacting with the APD.
For more info, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or look up "Albuquerque Copwatch" on Facebook.