Be The Change You Wish To Make

In a social climate that sees law enforcement and the general public more and more at odds there is collection of people making waves. They refer to themselves as First Amendment Auditors or Copwatchers.
As the mainstream media starts taking notice of these activists it becomes imperative for the "community" to put their best foot forward if it is to gain the support of the general public. Many news articles have been published and they’re less than flattering.
In this article we’re going to take a step back and focus on three individuals who have made a positive impact in the community.
We begin in Colorado Springs, CO. Terrell Clayton, known on YouTube as News Now Colorado, takes his camera out for his first foray into activism.

Only minutes into his video, being taken outside a police station from the public sidewalk, officers approach him and make contact. After a brief interaction he’s detained and deprived of his recording equipment. He remained calm and professional despite the obvious violation of his first and fourth amendment rights. It is important to note that Terrell was recording from a Traditional Public Forum.
Mr. Clayton sued the department and was awarded a monetary sum of $41,000 but the most important part of the settlement wasn’t the money. Included in the agreement is demand that Colorado Springs officers recieve updated training on how to deal with citizen journalists. Also, policy changes were made within the department on how the officers would interact with citizens merely exercising their right to record in public. Money aside, these changes will have an effect on any citizen of Colorado Springs intent on recording in public and is a small example of what this community can accomplish.

Now, shifting gears to the east coast, we will discuss an activist that goes by Police State NJ.
As an ex law enforcement officer this activist was able to become involved in training local law enforcement on the rights of citizens to record the police in the performance of their official duties.
Because the content creator wishes to remain anonymous any documents with his legal name will be redacted. For now, here’s a short video of him explaining his path to reforming policy and efforts in further training of the local police.

Finally, we turn our attention to an activist that fought long and hard and won a 5th circuit decision ending in case law.
Philip Turner, known as The Battousai on YouTube was recording from a traditional public forum when he was arrested unlawfully.

After taking the legal battle all the way to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals he was victorious, earning the decision known as Turner v Driver. It is landmark case that strips qualified immunity for officers caught violating the first amendment right to film from a Traditional Public Forum.

Case law is widely considered to be the penultimate accomplishment as it sets precedent for activists and citizens alike. This victory for the First Amendment is a feather in the cap of a burgeoning movement claiming to work for positive affirmation of constitutional rights.

For more detailed information and documents, see links below.
News Now Colorado:

Police State New Jersey:

The Battousai:

This article demonstrates nearly perfect examples of how one can effect change for the better. While I don't directly do audits, I have been involved in the "follow up" process of numerous audits for several years, supporting auditors with case law research, advisories on how to draft legal arguments (not giving legal advice, of course) and actively contacting superiors within various agencies to redress the grievances put upon auditors in the field.

I have copies of numerous emails I've received from agency heads who have responded to my objections of the way many incidents have been handled, and many of them indicate that training was or is being done to prevent such incidents in the future. One more recent event merely involved a sign on the outside of a police administration building that prohibited photography of any kind inside the public lobby of the building. Within two days, the auditor, who brought that to my attention through the posting of her video, reported that the sign had been removed. Was my email to the Chief of that agency THE catalyst that brought about that change? Maybe, maybe not. The point is, I got involved in a positive way to help effect that change. This was my contribution and I'd like to think it made a difference for all citizens going forward.
Cassano- Thank you for your contribution. Not all are called to be on the front line as an auditor, but all are called to their part. For some it may be providing financial support, for others it will be making phone calls, and writing letters. Some will be encouragers, and others will share their experiences and knowledge, but unfortunately there are many who will bury their heads in the sand and pretend to ignore what is happening around them. Again thank you for doing your part.
Copwatcher wins over 860,000.00 in case against cops