The website has suffered some neglect, but by no means have we abandoned the streets! If you haven’t been following along on YouTube, here’s what has been going down lately. Click the links to watch the corresponding videos.
Last month the police department hosted a wonderful propaganda event, an Open House, funded not by their $220 million dollar budget, but by the city of Camarillo. Highlights included displays of military like equipment and weaponry, a giant mailbox for depositing pharmaceuticals for disposal at an “undisclosed location”, and a fingerprinting booth to get your kids registered in the system nice and early.
Later that same day, they set up a sobriety and driver’s license checkpoint and clogged up a good section of Arneil, right in front of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
Checkpoints are a violation of our rights as they allow officers to stop and detain people without probable cause and force them to violate their Fifth Amendment rights if they wish to leave. This is a form of extortion, and it does nothing to solve the real issue of drunk driving. Between this checkpoint, and another in Thousand Oaks, officers stopped and spoke to 1,178 drivers and only arrested two for suspicion of being under the influence. This is an incredibly inefficient, unconstitutional way of “preventing” drunk drivers.
Especially since the Camarillo police are such unsafe drivers themselves! Is it just me, or are cop cars not supposed to be upside down? One unverified report says the officer involved in this accident was responding to a call when he entered the intersection at Arneil and Los Posas against the light, but did not turn on his lights or siren until he was already in the intersection, giving the cars around him no time to react. As far as we know, the officer was not tested for alcohol or drugs, and was seen the next day driving in a new vehicle.
We may have let a little dust collect on the website, but we are still out there watching our watchman. If you have your own videos or stories to share, please contact us here on the website, through our email, or Facebook!
It’s still only summer and yet we’re already celebrating our first appointment of Douche-Bag of the Year! May we present for your ridicule Sergeant Steven Michael Capuano:
Sergeant Capuano, badge number 89, has repeatedly demonstrated time and time again that he is angry mother fucker with a major chip on his shoulder. He has threatened Cop Watch agents with arrest multiple times, yet has never even issued us a single ticket, probably because we haven’t broken any laws. He’s made verbal threats when he feels he can get away with it, and even throws hissy fits at the mere sight of the Cop Watch agents he is most familiar with.
We found some very interesting articles about Sergeant Capuano that show a pattern for bad behavior. In summer of 1990, Capuano was suspended for using excessive force by using his baton above the shoulders on a suspect (a major no-no for the bullies in blue). He tried to appeal while also facing down a civil suit for brutality, but ultimately the appeal was rejected, resulting in a loss of three days pay and retraining on the correct and proper usage of the baton.
In the spring of 1992, a series of complaints were filed against officers harassing and beating up on Latino youths. The officers named included our own dear Capuano. We particularly love this quote:
In another complaint, Ayala accused Deputy Capuano of pointing a gun at her son’s head in October, and trying to provoke him with taunts. Capuano could not be reached for comment.
Granted these articles are over 10 years old, but we all know old habits die hard. In the time since these were written, Capuano wormed his way into a promotion to Sergeant and kept his name mostly out of the papers, but we here at Cop Watch feel that it’s not because his behavior has improved, but because he has learned to be more subtle and sneaky.
But, it’s not all bad news. We actually wanted to take a moment to thank Sergeant Capuano for encouraging us to establish the Camarillo Cop Watch in the first place. What began as a bit of political amusement for us blossomed into a full-blown movement under Sergeant Capuano’s angry influence and ugly glare. The more we found out about our beloved Sergeant, the more convinced we became that Camarillo’s watchmen needed watching.
So thank you Sergeant Capuano, we know you hate us, and it’s all your fault!
Congratulations on becoming Douche-Bag of the Year!
EDIT: Check out our compilation video featuring our favorite at his finest!
Douche-Bag of the Year Montage
It’s been a while since we’ve had a video to share, but that doesn’t mean our local pigs have been behaving themselves. In fact, they’ve been escalating their behavior. Pet owners beware, Camarillo officers have been witnessed committing acts of terrorism, threatening an innocent pet’s life in order to force compliance.
A local man was walking his dog in his own neighborhood, when a cruiser rolled up with flashing lights and two officers got out. He asked if he was being detained, to which the officers responded yes, but failed to give any reason why. The officers claimed they just wanted to know “what was going on tonight”, but our stalwart citizen refused to talk to them. At the time of the stop, he had been on a phone call to a friend, who advised him to call dispatch right away. He dialed 9-1-1 and told them he was being harassed by two officers. At this point, one officer threatened to kill the man’s dog if he did not comply. As the man stooped to shelter his dog, he asked the dispatch if they heard that, at which point the officers became aware that he was on the phone. They got back in their car, and drove away.
Unfortunately we do not have names, badge numbers, or video footage. So we have to ask: Dispatch, did you hear that? And what are you going to do about it?
While the main mission of the Camarillo Cop Watch is to film police encounters to keep officers in line, and to encourage the public to know and to exercise their rights, we have a side mission we like to call Operation Karmic Justice – we flip cops off and let them have what for (if you haven’t already seen our video, Cop Trolling, be sure to check it out).
But not everyone agrees with our methods. Our latest video, Officer Scaredy Pants provoked a huge response, including that of Officer J. Pitts, a pig in Missouri, who threatened to come to California and kill the Cop Watch agent who filmed Scaredy Pants. The video even has a couple of articles about it – here on DailyPaul.com and here on Pixiq.com and the initial comments were, well, colorful if not exactly supportive (or even really literate).
But as we continued to watch the public debate on whether we’re assholes or not, we were incredibly pleased and excited to see a small but growing movement of support, people who think we’re doing the right thing, that this really is karmic justice for the abuse and everyday injustices the police commit against us. And we just want to say thank you for the support and the encouragement! There are a lot of people who disagree with us, who think the system works just fine, who accuse us of propagating a circle of hate, but as long as there is someone out there protesting the abuse and subjugation by the police, we will continue to stand up against their wrath and for our rights.
Today we received a very interesting e-mail from Jim, editor of HighwayRobbery.net, asking us to share a warning with you about “Snitch Tickets” – fake tickets issued for red light violations asking you to confirm (snitch on) the registered owner of the vehicle. Here is the page with more info and pictures.
As we read and discussed this tricky little scam, we realized one of our own Cop Watch agents received one of these snitch tickets last year after a day trip to Ventura, but luckily left it unsigned and ingnored. The Fifth Amendment protects us from self-incrimination, and this is a perfect example of why we need this amendment.
The Supreme Court has held that “a witness may have a reasonable fear of prosecution and yet be innocent of any wrongdoing. The privilege serves to protect the innocent who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.”
In his e-mail, Jim also included these preventative measures:
1. The 2012 legislation season is well under way in Sacramento and there is a terrible bill (SB 1303) for us to oppose – strongly! NOW is the time for you to call your state senator, your assemblyperson, the governor, and your auto club. See the details at the top of the Action/Legis page.
2. Warn your California and Arizona friends about Snitch Tickets. They’re sneakily different from a REAL red light camera ticket! Read about them on the Your Ticket page, at http://www.highwayrobbery.net/redlightcamsticket.htm#Fakes
3. There is a very practical reason not to shop any more in red light towns! In the questionnaire on my website, I ask defendants how often they have been at the intersection where they got their ticket. While the majority of defendants were caught at intersections they had not visited previously, a substantial portion were caught at an intersection they were very familiar with. Conclusion: You are not safe from getting a ticket – or getting in an accident – simply because you know there’s a camera there. It is necessary to change your routine, to eliminate repeated visits to the intersection. (It’s like playing with snakes – no matter how careful you try to be, eventually they will catch you off guard, and you will get bit.) The small amount of money you have saved at the big box discount store in that town will be more than offset by the cost of tickets, rearending someone, or being rearended.
4. Watch out for lowered speed limits – which will in turn allow cities to shorten yellows. In 2011 Gov. Brown signed AB 529, which allows cities to reduce posted speeds by 5 mph, even on streets with a great safety record. I am suggesting that the yellows shortened as a result of AB 529 be named “Gatto Yellows” in honor of the author of the bill. See the Action/Legis page for more info.
Most citizens would not consider a camera a weapon, but Officer “Scaredy Pants” (name and badge number as yet unknown) doesn’t seem able to tell the difference. When we walked up to film him performing what should have been a simple traffic stop, he panicked and called for back-up. He was shortly joined by another uniformed officer and a very annoyed plain clothes officer, simply because he was too paralyzed with fear to continued the traffic stop without a little hand holding. So, Officer “Scaredy Pants”, what’s so frightening about a camera? What are you trying to hide?
Link to video:
Officer Scaredy Pants
From the COPWATCH.com Forum FAQ:
In an effort to draw a line in the sand between honorable, admirable police officers and their corrupt, incompetent brethren, we will publicize, analyze, and criticize the misdeeds of the latter, and contrast their actions with the heroic deeds of the former. We will demonstrate that good police officers share more characteristics in common with good citizens than they do with bad cops. Conversely, we will show that bad cops […] have far more in common with felons, high-school dropouts, and sociopaths than they do with either good cops or good citizens. Good cops should thus feel a greater sense of duty and loyalty towards good citizens than towards bad cops.
Though we may have gotten off on the wrong foot after a comment about bacon sandwiches, Officer R. Shirk recently impressed us by demonstrating that cops CAN do their job without being power-tripping fascists. In the video below, our brother being arrested had a warrant for failure to appear, but instead of making a dramatic fuss and throwing his weight around, Officer Shirk calmly and politely explained that as much as it sucks, he had to take our brother in. Then he allowed our brother to give us his personal items for safekeeping, and say farewell for now with hugs all around.
A quick video summery of our encounters with Officer Shrik:
Setting an Example
Thank you Officer Shirk, for not being a jerk, and please keep setting a good example for your less than honorable colleagues.