We seek to document the abuse of authority and highlight the double standard that some grant to those with badges. By documenting police actions – whether they are illegal, immoral or just a waste of time and resources – we encourage transparency and hold police accountable. If you are familiar with CopWatch projects, this is a way of documenting what we see when we are watching.
You are invited to document your own CopWatch activities and file your own Bad Cop Reports here. Additionally, if you are fighting police in criminal or civil court, the police abuses documented here may be useful in proving an officer's (or an agency's) history of abuse, excessive force, discriminatory prosecution, brutality, perjury, or incompetence.
This is the accountability arm of a larger Police Obsolescence project, working toward a world without police. Some of the efforts of this project include copwatch, know your rights education, police accountability, alternatives to calling the police, and education about police, courts, and jails.
Please spread the word, especially among your acquaintances who are members of vulnerable populations.
Contact us at badcopsc[at]gmail.com
Editorial PoliciesBe aware that we do not post every Bad Cop Report and that we frequently edit those we do. This is a DIY project and we prefer to exercise editorial control over our posts. In general, we prioritize and publish reports that include
- Clear dates and locations
- Officer names and badge numbers
- Succinct narratives
- Clear description of the abusive behavior of officers
- Incidents with supporting documentation in the form of photos, news references, collaborating reports, etc
This site is an attempt to document egregious abuse of power on the part of police. While in general, we oppose the system of laws and courts, it is not our intention to create a forum to rage against unjust laws (of which there are many).
We see the audience of Bad Cop to be three fold:
- Those who would like to hold individual officers and their agencies responsible for their misdeeds,
- Those who would like to understand the cost of society's reliance on a professional class of armed and coercive problem solvers, and
- Those who are fighting police in criminal and civil court and need ammunition to demonstrate a pattern and practice of excessive force, intimidation, harassment, perjury, discriminatory prosecution based on invidious criteria, and violations of first and fourteenth amendment rights on the part of Santa Cruz officers or their agencies.
Thus, we are not merely working to give the victims of daily police harassment a place to vent, but to craft a series of well-documented reports that lend tangible support to those who are victims of institutional violence and strongly suggest to police apologists that they rethink their point-of-view regarding the benefits and costs of policing.
"Bad Cops" vs. "Good Cops"
It is worth a word here about the phrase "Bad Cop." While colorful, it doesn't get at our true feelings about police. We do not believe there are "good cops" and "bad cops" (though arguably some cops may indeed be good people). We believe the institution of policing is rotten at the core.
Our system of laws exists to maintain the dominance of those in power, and the police are its armed enforcers. If you doubt this for a minute, look at who are the selective targets of local laws: homeless people, the young, those without means, and people who stand up to coercive authority. Globally, look at who dies and who gets rich from our wars and other man-made disasters.
For 250 years in this country, the government and their enforcers have consistently fought against people working for liberation: Indigenous resistance, land reformers, slave revolts, abolitionists, labor organizers & workers, free-speech advocates, women and civil rights workers, anti-war and anti-globalization protesters, and recently, animal rights and environmental activists.
Your relationship with the police is at heart adversarial. While there may be cops with hearts of gold, the job of all police is to arrest and prosecute you. As such, it is almost never in your best interest to cooperate with the police.
Please see our Know Your Rights information here.