Rather than sticking to the traditional form of protest in which signs are held and slogans are chanted, these citizens have taken direct action and offered a grassroots, crowd-funded incentive structure to end police brutality in their community.
They have offered a $2,500 reward to anybody who submits information leading to the arrest or termination of cops who brutalize or kill people.
They were able to let people know about the offer by printing all the details on flyers and spreading them throughout their community.
The flyer specifically names 15 cops as a start, and includes pictures of at least 10 cops who have been involved in either the brutalization or killing of Americans.
The words “Know Your Killer Cops” are printed on the flyers, along with instructions to film any police brutality and a location where the footage can be submitted.
“Stockton police have been getting away with terrorizing our citizens for far too long,” the flyer says.
“It is time to take back our streets.”
There is also a Stockton Police Department Corruption Reporting page on facebook where citizens can submit the footage.
The flyers were given out at the local courthouse and seem to have motivated citizens even more to start scrutinizing the actions of police.
With a $2,500 reward and with so many Americans unemployed, it is not hard to imagine many spending all day in the streets monitoring cops and starting their own patrols to earn the money.
Suppose a secure website were started where people donated in a currency such as Bitcoin, the donations would be anonymously pooled and verified, and the pool is offered to the first person who submits information leading to the termination or arrest of a specific officer.
Knowing that the funds are available, it is virtually guaranteed that citizens would take heightened measures to crack down on criminal cops. It would also empower communities to believe that with adequate training and resources, they can protect themselves rather than relying on a Police State.
Police are deeply concerned about the idea, however. Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said that the flyer “appears to invite retribution against our officers.”
“I’m concerned that the flyer might be intended to put officers at risk, which would be reprehensible, and it is sad and disheartening to see a flyer like this with a $2,500 bounty,” he added.
He then alluded to the recent assassination of two NYPD officers, and expressed disappointment that such a flyer would be created in the wake of growing anti-police sentiment.
It is difficult to see why this flyer would worry officers. The worries could be understood if there were a crowd-funded system that offered to anonymously deliver currency to the first person who, say, assassinates a specific officer, but that would be illegal and the flyer is doing no such thing. It is simply asking for video footage of and information about cops who break the law.
One of the activists who passed out the flyer replied, saying that the flyer is just informing the public that these people should be monitored and watched, and that it’s your right and responsibility to film the police. If there’s nothing that was done wrong, there’s nothing to be afraid of. If you’re calling a reward for accountability and wrongdoing a “bounty,” then that implies that somebody did something wrong. If there’s nothing to hide, they would laugh at it, but they know it’s serious. Their golden image is tarnished. This type of activism is not good for them and their image. That’s why they don’t care for it.
Now that the idea is spreading, other communities are sure to implement similar incentive structures to curb police brutality — indeed, it wouldn’t be surprising if a grassroots program like this is started nationwide.
Watch the video below to see an example of Stockton police brutality, where officers can be seen breaking a protester’s arm and kicking him while he was restrained: