Best Eyes on the Street (2011)

Phoenix Copwatch

Who's watching the detectives? And the patrol cops, and the highway patrol, and the sheriff's deputies? Phoenix Copwatch, natch. Started in 1998 by ostensible anarchists, Copwatch trains observers to monitor the po-po and videotape them as they pull over cars or stop folks on foot. The Copwatchers are there to "stop police brutality," and it's notable that Officer Friendly tends to be a lot friendlier when he's being videotaped. (Well, who isn't?) Copwatchers have been especially effective in monitoring Sheriff Joe Arpaio's anti-immigrant sweeps of Latino neighborhoods in the Valley. Under the collective gaze of Copwatch, the sweeps became a game of cat and mouse, with MCSO deputies as the mice. Video of possible civil rights violations was turned over to the ACLU, and if Arpaio's boys in beige were never waylaid, at least they were met toe-to-toe by the activists' critical eyes.


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