Larkin and Lacey are pioneers for justice. They helped lay the backbone for what should be done for people who are being discriminated against. With their company Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund, they advocate for civil, human, and migrant rights. They are the shoulders that new civil rights groups stand on. One such group is the Cop Watchers.
The police department in New York is not happy about this new group called Cop Watchers. This group was organized on initially because of the death of Eric Garner but included many other minority groups that were being targeted. Eric was accosted by police.
When Eric said repeatedly, “I can’t breathe”, the group of policemen did nothing and just left him laying there to die. There was a video of the incident that was shot by a young man named Ramsey Orta. No charges were placed upon the policemen even though there was proof of malicious conduct on video. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737
This caused an outrage in the community and it sparked marches and rallies. It was not only this injustice but many that had happened and continued to happen that caused the battle between African Americans and Latinos vs. the New York Police Department. This particular incident just happened to be the straw that broke the camels back.
On the 2nd anniversary of Eric’s death, the Cop Watchers organization was formed. This group forms smaller groups that go out into the field with cameras and smart phones to record the police interactions with the public.
They listen to the scanners among other things to find out where the policemen are going to be and rush their with their cameras and phones to record these incidents.
When the group first formed they would go out with only one person at a site at a time, but soon found out that more recorders were needed. The policemen were arresting them and confiscating their video equipment.
Mike were adding bogus charges such as “jay-walking” and arresting the Cop Watchers so that they would stop recording. Read more: Michael Larcey | Facebook
Because of this, they began to go to incidents with multiple video recorders in case this happened. Even with multiple cameras recording them they were still arresting people for minor charges just to get them to stop recording.
The video shot by the Cop Watchers is very reminiscent of video that you would see on the television in the time of marches with the late Dr. Martin Luther King. People were being wrestled to the ground, arrested for doing nothing, and told that they would have to go far away from the incident so that their recordings would be blocked from the view of what’s going on.
Ramsey Orta, who shot the video that started it all is currently in jail. He had a couple drug charges that he was dealing with. He was also jailed a couple times just for recording videos like the Eric Garner video with the Cop Watchers.
It has been documented that there was no harassment to Orta until he started working with the Cop Watchers. Then, and only then, he was ordered into court and given a sentence for prior arrests.
I hope this phenomenon becomes national and a National Cop Watchers organization starts where it is actually employment. If the paparazzi can do it legally and make money, then why can’t the Cop Watchers?
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