Note that the videos below are all raw (shot with my HTC Evo 5 via Cop Block’s Bambuser channel, my chest-mounted GoPro, and/or my Canon Vixia HF R10. At the conclusion of The Cop Block Tour I’ll make time to put-together some solid, over-arching videos using content from this stop. In the meantime, if you are so-compelled, you’re welcomed and encouraged to utilize this content and all other content at CopBlock.org.
The Cleveland stop of The Cop Block Tour happened on Saturday, Feb. 16th, 2013, yet I actually rolled into town the night prior after driving a short distance east after the conclusion of the Bellevue meetup. I had decided to roll close to the Cleveland meet-up location, find a place to park near to a work location (a place with WiFi and an outlet), so I could work the rest of the next day. That’s when I saw flashing lights ahead…
Unfortunately I didn’t arrive on the scene early enough to impact the stop, but I did try to take advantage of the sunk cost of the walk south by doing outreach to a Cleveland police employee doing a report. I saw another stop to the north, but that too ended before I was able to document.
Wouldn’t it be cool if, instead of just me or you or one other person who stops and films when they see police activity, that practice was done by multiples persons who happen to be in the area? Might police employees then be less-likely to threaten or brutalize if they knew that the person nearby on foot or in the second floor apartment across the street, might very well be recording the exchange taking place? I love it when I see videos created with camera footage taken by strangers – it really does demonstrate that we’re better off when we look out for our neighbors.
Back to Cleveland – I spent all day Saturday working from a McDonald’s – replying to the backlog of messages received to facebook.com/copblock and updating the map/list of known Cop Block offshoots and allies at http://copblock.org/groups, including pages from Holland, New Zealand, Australia, Edmonton, Auburn, Utah, Mississippi, Dallas and Northern Arizona.
As 7pm neared I walked to my truck to load-up on outreach literature, and met Deo, who I’d interacted with via Ohio Cop Block.
Note that there’s now a Cleveland Cop Block – this city-specific offshoot, and a few others in Ohio, was created by Eric Freerock, a Columbus-based activist who took a page from friends active with NW Indiana Cop Block, who did the same for the largest cities in Indiana (besides Indianapolis, which already had an active group).
Deo and I walked into the meetup location – My Friends Restaurant on Detroit – and were quickly joined by Mary and Scott, who’d trekked out from MI and IN respectively. I found out they were friends with Katie, an awesome person and one of the founders of the Michigan Peace and Liberty Coalition, whom I’d recently met at the Detroit meetup. Small world!
It was good that a venue open 24-hours was chosen for the meetup location as we discussed ideas until after 2am. Definitely good people.
We spoke about our own police experiences and journey, how to effectively (and peacefully) address issues of police brutality (individuals are responsible for their actions thus hold aggressor accountable and focus on the institution), navigating legal land (as more than one present has threats hanging over their head despite not engaging in an action that hurt anyone or their property*), non-violent communication, voluntaryism, Free Keene and the Free State Project, environmental concerns as it relates to property rights, the School Sucks Project, Complete Liberty, incrementalism versus the ideal, more.
And I was glad to have left with all of the literature I brought being taken for future distribution – though some of it was utilized that night – given to Cleveland police employees who stopped-by the eatery. The half-dozen police employees we saw pretty much came in in pairs, and though the first and second pairs took the outreach materials we offered (including the Liberty Empowerment Kit constructed by Virginia Copblockers), the last pair was a bit standoffish. Oh well, at least an attempt was made.
Even our waiter, who noted his affinity for a socialist political party, left with one of every handout brought:) And someone left a FreeKeene.com giant postcard for the next patrons of a nearby table. You never know!
*On Feb. 17th I recorded an audio interview with Deo about his situation. The rationale for sharing his story is to personalize it – to make clear to more folks that he didn’t act in the wrong – in fact he was doing something out of concern for those in the area (much like the redic “wiretapping” charges our friends in Manchester, NH levied at Ademo).
Before I left town I stopped by the headquarters of the largest gang in Cleveland to inquire about an incident that had occurred (read: Cleveland-based gang fires 137 rounds at two, killing them). I streamed via Bambuser and recorded using my Canon camera (my GoPro is out of commission and I’m currently in communication with an employee from that company to hopefully bring-about a solution):