Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Who’ll watch the cops?

    I remember when the Internet came to my house, I was in middle school. Now I’m 27 and it wasn’t until last year that I owned my first computer. It was given to me as a birthday gift by a friend who refurbished it. While I have always been grateful for the gift, I also remember feeling upset. It felt like being forced online, forced to take on responsibilities in a global community. One year of Internet-ing obliterated any notion that ignorance is bliss.
    It doesn’t take the Internet to see police brutality being carried out against friends, family, neighbors, and fellow students. It does, however, require some degree of altruism in order to be a witness for justice.
    I pay close attention to the words and logic people use to avoid cop watching. My best friend has progressed from clinging to a list of excuses to at least acknowledging excuses for what they are. Like so many, my friend still tries to reason a way out of cop watching. “I’m waiting to strike the perfect blow.”
    In contrast, there are others who are not waiting. At a recent ASLC meeting, one student voiced concerns over rights and sovereignty in police affairs. When I raised the issue later that night with other students, I spoke about the importance of willingness: willingness to do for others, willingness to put others first, and willingness to put your own life on the line.
    The response was typical: “You have to do it right. You must have someone else there with you. You have to be recording.”
    All I heard was more fear. Having a second witness and/or recording police activities, these are legitimate precautions. These steps, however, are not prerequisites for cop watching. In fact, it is a misconception that a fellow witness and/or video recording will keep one safe. If you didn’t know this to be true already, just watch the multiple recordings by multiple witnesses of Eric Garner being killed by New York City police officers.
    Ostensibly, zero percent of cops are prosecuted for criminal conduct, while far more than zero percent of cops are criminals. To what degree do cops need to be corrupt before you do something about it?
    While I understand that I can’t save the world, the Internet pushed me closer to the person I want to be. I don’t want to make decisions based on fear (of the police or anything else). I do want to see every human life to be as valuable as my own.
    In the words of Saul Willaims, “My people, let Pharaoh go!”

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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