Citizens arrested, video camera stolen, for observing police

"It was the kind of scene that would draw a crowd--not because it was unusual, but because it was so common....

"Three members of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement's (MXGM) Cop Watch project happened upon the scene as they made their weekly rounds in the neighbourhood, video camera in tow, patrolling the streets for suspicious activity.

"When the three began filming the police, and continued to do so after being told to move, they knew their presence was unwelcome.

But what happened next was unanticipated: officers arrested two members, Djibril Toure and Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele. A struggle ensued, according to the group's account, and an officer threw group member Dasaw Floyd, and the camera he was holding, to the ground. The camera swiftly disappeared into police custody.

"The Copwatchers are now due in court later this month, slapped with charges of obstructing government administration, resisting arrest, harassment and assault--mostly, they say, just because they watched when the police told them not to."


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