Synopsis: Shows "Cop watchers" dedicated to bringing awareness to their community and exposing police brutality/harassment. They are legally recording/documenting each arrest but often find themselves to be the victims of chaos.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Camilla Hall
Production: Gunpowder & Sky
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
95 min


Ramsey has just been arrested

for filming the police.

Back up.

Why are you standing

in front of the camera?

Sir, you've got to get...

Get back on that sidewalk. Go back

over there and film over there.

They haven't told me

why am I being arrested.

This is my mom's name, Emily.

This was actually my first tattoo.

I remember I was told,

I wouldn't be able to get tattoos

unless it was my mom's name.

So, I went behind my mom's back

for Mother's Day

and got her name tattooed, and since then,

I've just been addicted to it.

Eyes of a dead man.

A part of my life where

I felt like I didn't have no soul,

I didn't have no heart

and everything was cold around me.

This is actually a victim

to the police brutality and stuff.

This signified how cops were killing us.

Ex gang-member, Ramsey Orta,

faces years in jail.

It all started when he shot

a video of his friend, Eric Garner,

being stopped by undercover officers

on suspicion of selling

untaxed cigarettes.

For what? Every time you see me,

you want to mess with me.

I'm tired of it. It stops today.

This guy right here is forcibly

trying to lock somebody up.

That day changed my life.

I wish it didn't have to happen this way.

Don't touch me, please.

Do not touch me.

- Why are they doing that to him?

- Damn, man.

All right, he's down.

Lift your hands, buddy.

Put your hands behind your head.

I can't breathe!

I can't breathe!

I can't breathe!

I can't breathe!

Officer had his knee

on Eric's neck like this.

And basically holding him down,

trying to restrain him,

while other officers was twisting his arm.

I can't breathe.

I can't breathe!

Everybody back up. Back up.

Watching it now, it's like... It hurts.

I get goosebumps,

'cause I feel like I could've done

a lot more

than just stand there and videotape.

He can't breathe.

They don't even try to take

the cuffs of him and give him CPR.

They don't even try to put

an oxygen mask over his face.

I mean, they just left him there.

Laying on his side, with his eyes

rolled back and his mouth open.

And I'm like, "I killed him."

Back up.

I was here watching the whole sh*t.

You watched everything.

You know everything.

I couldn't believe it at first,

and then...

I went home and took a shower

and it hit me like,

"Damn, they just killed my friend."

Two days after a New York City grand jury

cleared a white police officer

in the choke hold death

of an unarmed black man,

the protests are growing larger

and spreading across the country...

Ramsey's video triggered

demonstrations across America.

I can't breathe!

Hundreds shut down

major highways in multiple cities.

For many,

including the city's medical adviser,

this was a homicide caught on camera.

I can't breathe!

Summer, 2016.

Ramsey's video has still

not led to any arrests.

But it has inspired a network of people

who use technology to watch the police.

They're taking on the largest force

in America,

the NYPD.

Brooklyn, New York City.

Dennis Flores is a government employee

by day.

By night, he runs a team

that intercepts police radio

to film arrests as they happen.

342 tenth Street.

Can you check if that's

between third and fourth Avenue?

Let's roll with it.

We want to deter police abuse.

So, if our cameras are out there,

it's going to help prevent it

'cause they know

there's extra eyes on them.

These cameras are bad-cop repellent.

While it's legal to film the police,

Dennis has been arrested dozens of times.

Sometimes aggressively.

So, these cops came,

grabbed me, handcuffed me,

and then body-slammed me here,

like about five or six cops.

Slammed me to the floor.

This one police officer

grabbed his walkie-talkie

and cracked my head open

as all these other cops came

and kicked me, punched me.

And they dragged me out of here

and charged me with assaulting the police.

Now, Dennis never films alone.

He and his team have filmed multiple cases

of what New York's zero-tolerance

policing means in practice.

So, this is where Ray Tillery was standing

when he flicked the cigarette

onto the street.

The police around him,

swarmed him around this entrance.

As we see in the video,

right in here, in front of

this dollar pizzeria shop,

he gets arrested.


What are these guys trying to do?

- Are they trying to handcuff him?

- Turn around.

Over ten police officers,

aggressively, take him down

for flicking a cigarette in the street,

something that thousands

of New Yorkers do every day.

He can't throw a cigarette butt down?

Come on, man.

For every ten people stopped

by the NYPD, eight are Black or Hispanic.

Literally, like, the police have a license

to hurt, arrest,

and kill people and get away with it.

Nothing happens to them.

Even those who intervene

run the risk of arrest.

Sebastian Lemos, he was right here

and the police were arresting him.

And as they approached, the mother,

she started telling the cops what

you're doing to her son was wrong.

She's six months pregnant.

She has a belly out to here.

You see them struggling with her

and he slams her to the floor.

He puts his knees on her back.

Another woman approaches,

and the cop tosses her, flips her over,

and she hits the ground

and fractures her kneecap.

These are crimes being committed

by police officers.

That's why cop watching is effective.

Because here we are, keeping a track

of all the corrupt cops.

We're making it public to make sure

that people know what's going on

and this doesn't just

get swept under the rug.

Police officer shot in the shoulder.

Now they've got an investigation

of the three individuals.

Two of them have been apprehended.

The officer has got shot in the shoulder.

And one individual's still at large.

Anthony Miranda

has spent his life in the NYPD.

They're doing an infrared and heat

to try to locate people,

probably in the backyards.

A senior detective,

he's investigated homicides,

organized crime and police corruption.

They shot one cop, they wouldn't

hesitate to shoot another.

It's highly unusual

for a police officer

to speak out against his own.

But after 20 years of service,

Miranda can no longer keep quiet

about the behavior of the police.

The enforcement against

African-Americans and Hispanics

is ten times more than it is against

any other community out there.

When cops become abusive is when

the they start believing the mentality

that it's us against them.

And that starts from day one

in the police academy.

Any police indoctrination,

it trains officers

to disassociate with

the communities they grew up in,

not to identify with the people,

sometimes not even to identify

with their own family members.

They have no screening process

whatsoever for racism.

They don't do it.

Imagine if the police department

can hire somebody

who has a tattoo on his arm

of a hanging...

Of a black person hanging,

they still qualify to be

a New York City police officer.

- Have you seen that?

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Copwatch" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Jul 2024. <>.

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