Jacob Crawford of CopWatch was attacked by two plain clothes police officers because he asked for their names and badge numbers. Although we here at CopBlock.org aren’t really surprised by such police reactions to being filmed, the video does show a number of other things that should bother you. Before I get into those here is Jacob’s account via the YouTube description:
On November 18th I was assaulted by Plain Clothes Officers. We started off our shift at 16th in Mission in Sf by seeing several strange people. I assumed them to be plain clothes officers because I could see vests under their shirts. When they refused to identify themselves I wondered whether indeed these were “on the job” cops. Many cities around the country are known for having rogue units that take the “law” into their own hands, or are involved in organized crime. As I questioned a woman on her involvement she grabbed my camera and ran at me. From all directions came men who neither identified themselves as cops or gave orders. I assumed I was getting attacked, and I was unsure of by who. As I ran into 16th street two cops cars pulled up with lights on, it was at that point that I stopped and let the arriving officers take me down. Within seconds they could see that the move was faulty, and they released me with no charge
First, the officers refuse to identify themselves. Think about this, people — you’re forced to pay for them and they claim to protect you, but they’re refusing to ID themselves when asked. Asking someone who provides you a service to identify themselves isn’t a crime, rude or unreasonable. I can’t even think of a service (food, cab or cashier) that wouldn’t state their name (and provide proof if required to conduct business) upon request. What I do know is that request would most likely produce a number of results that would NOT end with me in handcuffs — like it does so often with police. Not to mention police expect you to ID yourself whenever they ask and get angry if you exercise your right to refuse, often threatening to ticket you (aka: to steal your money; using the law) or confiscate (also stealing) your camera equipment.
Another shocking thing was the number of police that were on scene and how quickly they showed up. It didn’t take but a few seconds for at least 6 officers, by my count, and a police car to surround Jacob. Makes you wonder what the police were doing? Were they on a sting? Maybe they were enticing people to sell them drugs? Whatever the reason, does this not scare anyone else? At any time there can be any given number of plain clothes police officers, with guns and other gadgets, surrounding you, your neighbors and community trying to either bait you into some illegal (because of their laws -words on paper) activity or to witness you breaking one of the 40,000 plus laws currently on the books most of which are for victimless crimes (just check any jail statistics).
So if you see a police officer arresting someone for something you disagree with or doing something you don’t want your money being spent on, tell them (it’s also a good idea to film it). Let those who “are just doing their job” know that you don’t appreciate their work. (And to those that do, please stop making me pay for it.)