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Kirkwood Neighbors' Organization Votes to Censure Copwatch Group

The community's neighborhood group says the police watchdog group is not objective in its stated mission.

This still from the accompanying YouTube video is of an alleged police brutality incident that occurred April 8, 2013 at the Edgewood Courts Apartments.
This still from the accompanying YouTube video is of an alleged police brutality incident that occurred April 8, 2013 at the Edgewood Courts Apartments.
Patch Voices

Editor's note:
Copwatch of East Atlanta is part of a national network of citizens groups that records alleged incidents of police brutality and highlights individuals' Constitutional rights with respect to detentions, and or arrest. Its methods have come under fire, however, and this Op-Ed explains a recent decision by the Kirkwood Neighbors' Organization.

by Earl Williamson

The Kirkwood Neighbors Organization approved a motion for censure of Copwatch by a vote of 63 for, 1 against and 6 abstentions. This was based on the Atlanta Police Department's evening shift supervisor's description of issues they had been experiencing with Copwatch and the following episodes:
  • Following a reported APD officer beating of a suspect in the Edgewood Courts, the Copwatch kids armed the Edgewood courts kids with bricks and rocks and then Copwatch called the police. This was reported by an Edgewood community leader.
  • Following the armed robbery and shooting of a Kirkwood resident in Gilliam Park last week a rapid APD response included tracking dogs that followed suspect scent directly towards Edgewood Courts. During tracking, Copwatch individuals walked back and forth in the path of the tracking dogs in a suspected effort to obscure suspect scent. Reported by APD command.
  • Of 25 descriptions of APD officer behavior on Copwatch's website, 12 are in or immediately adjacent to Edgewood Courts. That means 48 percent of Copwatch activity relative to APD, centers on Edgewood Courts and strongly suggests a loss of objectivity as well as a seeming favoritism to criminal elements operating there. This is based on data from the Copwatch website.
Please note that this is not a censure of Edgewood Courts Apartments and especially not a censure of the majority of residents there who are law-abiding residents and members of the community.

— Mr.Williamson, a resident of Kirkwood, is chairman of Neighborhood Planning Unit-O, which advocates for the interests of the Kirkwood, East Lake, the Villages of East Lake and Edgewood communities.
Earl Williamson, RN July 13, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Rearding Copwatch presence during pursuit of the armed felon who shot a woman in Gilliam Park - What exactly was Copwatch doing in front of the active pursuit of an armed and dangerous felon? If not attempting to obscure scent and pursuit then what? How did Copwatch know about the pursuit, only minutes after the shooting that precipitated it? And in enough time to place themselves in front of the pursuit? If your only purpose in front of that pursuit was to film that investigation than why not share that video with us? Or would that video demonstrate Copwatch was doing more than simply observe, deliberate or not?
Tyler Mahoney July 13, 2013 at 09:17 PM
These are laughable accusations and all of them are completely unsourced. "Arming" people with rocks and then calling the police? I guess I could see someone doing one or the other, but both? Whose side exactly are copwatch accused of being on? Walking back and forth in the scent trail? How could they have been consciously walking through a trail that is invisible to the human eye? Can this claim even be sourced back to the police department? The last accusation is the most telling one, though. They associate the mere presence at Edgewood Courts with "favoritism to the criminal element operating there". Just another example of a racist neighborhood association's war on the poor. SMH.
Kirkwood Resident July 13, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Racist? What in the world are you talking about. Supporting the police is racist? Asking for their help with crime to increase patrols in our neighborhood? Kirkwood is a diverse neighborhood and the police are there for all of us. Watch your own cop watch video and see how many of the police officers were black. So even that logic does not work. Please stop bringing race into this. Public safety and crime are the issues.
TCCB July 19, 2013 at 01:53 AM
I am BLACK!!!!! Close Edgewood Courts Down!!!! Drugs,Gangs, carjackers ect..................
TCCB July 19, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Take them all to jail!!!!!

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