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NCOPA '97: Philadelphia Hosts 7th Police Accountability Conference
by Clayton S.

Once again, Portland Copwatch was represented at the 7th National Conference on Police Accountability. This year's gathering was held in Philadelphia, PA, a city infamous for egregious police abuse of the citizenry. Among other things, Philadelphia is home to the infamous MOVE bombing of 1985 in which police dropped incindiary weapons on the housing complex of a radical African-American group, killing 11. It is also the city in which the Fraternal Order of Police actively lobbies for the death of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, and home to the "dirty 39th", a precinct so corrupt that dozens of drug cases have been overturned because of police misconduct.

The conference was attended by close to 200 police accountability activists, lawyers, ex-police officers and families of police victims. The attendees represented a wide variety of ethnicities and political perspectives, and there were at least as many female as male conference-goers.

Conference participants shared information and organizing strategies on a variety of issues. Police use of racial profiling, strategies for agitating for effective civilian review boards, information on asset forfeiture of drug suspects and an overview of the increasing privatization and militarization of the police were among the topics explored.

One conference highlight was a plenary on "Crack Cocaine and the Role of the CIA", presented by Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News and Congressional Representative Maxine Waters. Webb's well-researched series on the CIA's role in introducing crack to America's inner cities has been the source of much controversy lately; and Rep. Waters has called for a full federal investigation of the CIA.

Another concern repeatedly addressed by the conference was violence and abuse perpetrated by federal and multi-jurisdictional law enforcement agencies such as the INS. Similarly, during a session to bring our regional concerns, several groups urged the conference's sponsor, the National Coalition on Police Accountability (N-COPA) to get involved monitoring prisons and other institutions of the "criminal justice" system in addition to law enforcement agencies.

As in the past, the conference proved to be an invaluable asset to the work we are doing here in Portland. We expanded our list of national resources and allies, and we were informed of several significant cases and issues that deserve our attention and support. Several articles inspired by the conference are currently in the works. Check out the next issue of the People's Police Report for more information.

Copwatch would like to extend thanks to the MacKenzie River Gathering
for a generous travel grant allowing Clayton to attend this year's conference.
Portland Copwatch has been represented at the conference and been a member of NCOPA every year since 1993.
For more information, contact: National Coalition On Police Accountability 59 E Van Buren #2418, Chicago, IL 60605; phone (312) 663-5392

  [People's Police Report]

August, 1997
Also in PPR #12

Chief Undoes Council Misconduct Vote
Police Shootings, Shootings of Police
 • 18 Years: One Dead Cop, 100s of Dead Workers
 • What is a Hero?

Drug-Free Zones Modified
Day Laborers Resist Immigration Raids
Sheriff Wants Double-Bunking in Jail
Eugene Cops Attack Peaceful Tree-Sit
Updates PPR #12:
 • Beanbag Bullets Now on the Beat
 • Special Duty
 • Pepper Spray to be Banned in Berkeley?
 • Cop-Friendly Capitalism
 • Police Spying Update (again!)
 • Hawthorne Copwatching Update
 • Grant to Copwatch: Update

Report: National Conference in Phillie
Quick Flashes PPR #12:
 • Slap on the Wrist for Rapist Cop
 • Sacramento Cops Target Zapatista Supporters
 • ACLU Updates Police Abuse Manual
 • Portland Copwatch in Media, at Conference

Reviews of 'Zines
Rapping Back #12

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

People's Police Report #12 Table of Contents
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