Nonprofit Spotlight: Cop Watch Los Angeles (CWLA)

Photo Courtesy of Copwatch Los Angeles Facebook

Photo Courtesy of Copwatch Los Angeles Facebook

Intersections’ Nonprofit Spotlight series profiles South L.A. organizations that are propelling positive change in South L.A.


Flyer from a fundraiser to free Joaquin Ceinfuegos, the founder of Copwatch LA, from jail | Photo Courtesy of Copwatch LA

Flyer from a fundraiser to free Joaquin Ceinfuegos, the founder of Copwatch LA, from jail | Photo Courtesy of Copwatch LA

What is Cop Watch LA’s purpose?  According to our mission statement,”CWLA is a program, coalition, and network dedicated to the struggle that will end police terrorism through collecting information on and observing police activity, by offering support to those caught in the criminal injustice system, fighting for change without a reformist consciousness, and working side-by-side with oppressed communities*, and grassroots organizations to create revolutionary alternatives to policing, prisons, and all systems of domination, oppression and exploitation by building healthy, safe, and liberated communities.”

(*We see the most ‘oppressed communities’ as working class and unemployed peoples of color (third world, undocumented, immigrants, citizens, etc.), especially women, queer and transgendered folks, youth, people with disabilities, and so fourth. We organize honoring the movements of the most oppressed and demand that those of us with privileges struggle as allies, not leadership!)

When was the CWLA founded?

On July 11th, 2005 the Los Angeles Police Department murdered 19 month-old Suzie Lopez Pena in Watts, California. At the time the Los Angeles Chapter of the Southern California Anarchist Federation (SCAF-LA) was organizing and holding meetings in South Central Los Angeles at Chuco’s Justice Center, a community center that houses the offices of the Youth Justice Coalition, Critical Resistance, and the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality. In response to the Pena murder and the recent LAPD murders of Devin Brown, Deandre Brunston, and Gonzalo Martinez, SCAF-LA joined the “Stop Terrorism and Oppression by the Police Coalition,” out of which Cop Watch LA was born.

Video Courtesy of Copwatch Los Angeles

Copwatch Poster | Photo Courtesy of Copwatch LA

Copwatch Poster | Photo Courtesy of Copwatch LA

Which areas does CWLA serve?  Our chapter is based out of South Central Los Angeles.

What services does CWLA provide?  

CWLA’s goals are to…
  • Form neighborhood patrols within the communities in which we live and create community prevention methods to police terrorism
  • Offer support to people and their families who have harassed, brutalized and/or murdered by law enforcement agencies
  • Develop intelligence through research and study groups
  • Share resources, education, and training with communities interested in supporting and/or starting a Cop Watch chapter or patrol team
  • Participate in the process of building autonomy, self-determination, and the self-organization of our many communities
  • Assist with coalition-building among human rights organizations
  • Serve the people in oppressed communities (i.e. food programs, free schools, free clinics).

What are CWLA’s recent accomplishments?  We had a recent training and gathering where Cop Watch Organizations from all over Southern California came together. We are linking up to build an organized movement all over So Cal to fight and put an end once and for all to police terrorism.

In which areas could CWLA use volunteers?  CWLA is a grassroots organization, we are all volunteer-run.  The goal is to create Cop Watch communities where we encourage people to take direct action when they see police brutality and harassment.

Contact info:  [email protected]




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