If you see an officer stop someone, especially if they are a person of color, STOP, WATCH and RECORD. People without criminal records are particularly encouraged to do this.
The police will probably ask you to move on but as long as you do not interfere with their actions, you have the right to watch and record. They may threaten you but they have no legal right to stop you. If you feel intimidated, step back a few feet. Do not make any abrupt moves, keep your hands are visible. Stay calm, antagonism could make it worse for the victim. Always de-escalate. Be aware, people have been attacked and brutalized by the police while copwatching.
Let the person know that you are there to protect them from police abuse.
Record video or take a picture but stay focused on the police. Any documentation can be used as evidence against the victim. If the victim does not want you to record, do not record.
Get the officer’s name, badge number or car license number. You can ask for their badge number.
Note the time, place and date of the incident.
If the person is being arrested, ask what the charge is. If the reasons for the stop/detention are unclear, ask the cop which Penal Code Section they are enforcing.
If the person is being arrested, get their name.
Get names and contact of witnesses to the arrest/harassment.
Report the incident to us. Send the photo, video, email to missioncopwatch@(gmail.com) or text the report to 906-0400.