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California Group Gives Ferguson Residents Cameras To Monitor Police

Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

The California-based group “We Copwatch” has raised more than $7,000 to purchase small video cameras. The group donated the cameras to residents of Canfield Green, the apartment complex where Michael Brown was shot.

So far, they have distributed about 100 cameras to monitor police and ensure accountability. They plan to pass out another hundred cameras early next week.

Jacob Crawford is an organizer with “We Copwatch.” He’s staying in Ferguson helping train residents on how to effectively use their cameras. He says monitoring cops is an act of defense.

“I copwatch for a lot of reason, but I think the biggest one is that you can impact the outcome of somebody’s stop in that moment,” he said. “Police are less inclined to hurt people when there are members of the public video taping and observing.”

Crawford says documenting police helps communities feel safe.

“The temperature is extremely volatile. The cops have just proved themselves to be such an illegitimate entity of the state,” he said. “People don’t have any choice but to think about how we take care of ourselves without these people.”