Rose City Copwatch

Dear Rose City Copwatch supporter,

We are writing to inform you that, as of November 4, 2012, Rose City Copwatch has disbanded.

This is not a decision that we made lightly, and it does not come as the result in any internal conflict or controversy.  But over the past two years it has become increasingly clear to us that our model of organizing is ill-suited to our present context.  Beginning with the period of unrest following Officer Ron Frashour’s murder of Aaron Campbell in 2010, and continuing through the Occupy protests and beyond, we have consistently found ourselves struggling to keep pace with events as they unfolded.  Meanwhile, a larger and larger share of the attention of our membership and volunteers has been taken up with other projects that were better able to respond to the urgent needs of the present moment.  Our efforts to reinvent the organization foundered, largely because we lacked a core group that could devote its full energy to the project.  Rather than preserve the organization simply for the sake of preserving the organization, we have decided that the more responsible thing to do is to close it down and turn our attention elsewhere.  There’s no lack of work to be done. . . .

–and the struggle continues.  As a parting gesture, we intend to distribute our remaining resources among other organizations that continue to move us toward the goal of a world without police.  Among those groups receiving what is left of our funds are Critical Resistance, Incite: Women of Color Against Violence, the Committee Against Political Repression, and the Rose Hips Medic Collective.

We want to stress that we do not view the end of our organization as a defeat.  Rose City Copwatch came into existence under a very specific set of circumstances; that those circumstances have changed is, we believe, partly the result of our work.  For almost a decade, we pushed the limits of what was possible in opposition to the police, staking out a position that was, at once, seeking to limit police violence immediately and also focused on the ultimate goal of abolition.  During the period of our activity, though not by any means solely by our efforts, police abolition became an established point on the political spectrum, the idea of community-based alternatives to policing has spread across the left (and beyond), and the practice of copwatching has become commonplace even among people who don’t know that there’s a word for it.  No one organization can take credit for those shifts, but we like to think we’ve done our part.

Of course, we’ve also made our share of mistakes.  As the context changed, it brought to the surface many of the flaws in our organizing, the limits of our structure, and the weaknesses of our strategy.  We’ve all learned much from the experience, and, as a final project, we will be releasing a critical self-assessment sometime next year.  It is our hope that an honest accounting will aid the movement even after the organization is gone.  We would like to see others learn, both from our successes and from our mistakes.

Finally, thank you for the support you have offered over the past several years.  Rose City Copwatch was always a small group, but we knew that others were with us, doing their part to help the work along.  Now, as our little group dissolves back into the much larger movement that produced it, we hope that you will take the opportunity to redouble your efforts and continue fighting for a just, free, and equal society.

Don’t waste any time with mourning.  Organize!

in solidarity,
Rose City Copwatch

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Enough is enough!

Billy Wayne Simms

On Saturday, July 28th, Portland Police Officer Justin Clary fired multiple rounds into the car driven by Billy Wayne Simms as he attempted to drive away. The vehicle plowed into an occupied apartment building, after which police placed a guarded perimeter around the scene. Simms was left wounded in his car without medical attention and his family was denied access to him or to any information about him during this time. Hours later, Simms was pronounced dead at the wheel of the car.

Since then, the Police and local media have attempted to justify this murder by expounding a litany of violent offenses the victim was alleged to have been involved in in the days prior. Regardless of any past criminal history and whether police accusations against the victim are true or not, there is no justification for Billy Wayne Simms’ murder. The actions of this officer and of the Portland Police Bureau in supporting him are a brutal, tragic reminder of the realities of police violence in working class communities.

Billy Wayne’s family has been hit with an unimaginable, sudden tragedy. On top of loosing their son, the family must come up with $1500 to retrieve Billy’s body from the morgue in the next few days. They are asking for the community’s support to help them raise this money.

We need YOUR help raising this $1500 so that Billy’s family can have a proper funeral for him.

You can contribute right now by giving any amount here:

Though the looming political questions raised by yet an other police murder will have to be addressed in the coming weeks, immediate support to Billy’s family is needed. If you want to be updated on future actions after these funds have been raised, email us and let us know.

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Cops and the 99%: PORTLAND

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Cops and the 99%:

Author Kristian Williams will be speaking about police and the 99% in Seattle on Thursday, March 1st, and in Portland on Saturday, March 10th.


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Justice for Aaron Campbell!

Portland police officer Ronald Frashour: Getting away with murder

On January 29th, 2010, Aaron Campbell, an unarmed
African American man was shot in the back with an
assault rifle by Portland Police Office Ronald
Frashour, an incident Rev. Jesse Jackson called “an
execution.” Now after community members demanded
and got him fired, he may be put right back on the

Was firing Frashour just a joke? If Frashour gets his
job back, the message is clear: POLICE CAN GET AWAY

Justice for Aaron Campbell

Fire killer cops and keep them fired!

What you can do:

• Spread the word- tell your friends,
family, co-workers and neighbors
• Sign up to receive an email or text the
day the decision comes out. Send your
email address or phone # to
• Sign up to receive text updates by
texting “Follow FireFrashour” to 40404
• Send a letter to the editors of the
Oregonian, The Portland Tribune, The
Portland Mercury, The Willamette
Week, The Skanner or The Asian
• Follow us on Twitter @ FireFrashour

Have questions or want to get involved?

Contact us at or 503.715.1409

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Solidarity with Oakland now!

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Hey, we added a paypal button so you may donate to us through the internet if you feel so inclined! Thanks for your support!

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Towards a World without Police – The Video!

On September 29th, Rose City Copwatch gave a talk at the Red and Black Cafe on the history of modern police force and the need for a world without cops. Thanks to the folks at Utopia or Bust, the event was recorded and all 50 minutes are available online!

Click here for part 1.

Click here for part 2.

Click here for part 3.

Click here for part 4.

Click here for part 5.

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Against Prisons // Against Police: Nurturing a local resistance to the Prison Industrial Complex

Rose City Copwatch is happy to join in this event presented by The Ad-Hoc Committee to Connect the Dots.

Friday December 3rd, 6-8pm

Food For Thought Cafe (basement of Smith Building, Portland State University)

Join us for an informal discussion with organizers from three different organizations in Portland:

Rose City Copwatch, Oregon Jericho, and Committee to Connect the Dots.

Sponsored by: *Students for Unity, Student Animal Liberation Coalition, Pan American Solidarity Organization*

For more information click here.

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Portland Police from Past to Present

Rose City Copwatch is pleased to co-sponsor this event presented by Oregon Jericho.

Thursday November 4th,  7-9pm

The Sisters of the Road Café – 133 NW 6th Ave

This event is free, open to the public and disability affirmative!

Local authors Michael Munk and Kristian Williams will discuss the Portland Police Bureau’s history of political repression.  Williams will begin the evening with an overview of the cops’ role in society and the relationship between policing and inequality. Munk will then focus on the history of Portland’s “red squad”, from its origin in the 1920s to its present form.  A facilitated public discussion will follow

Co-sponsored by: PDX APOC, NW Student Coalition, B Media Collective, Right 2 Survive, Rose City Copwatch, Community Alternatives to the Police (CAP), Portland Central American Solidarity Committee

For more information click here.

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