12/10/2013 Newsletter


  • Party for Professional Policing--Police Insurance Amendment Kick Off Event
  • Know Your Rights Training
  • New Copwatch App Sends Footage to Cloud
  • Local Cops Spying on the Community--Takes Page Out of NSA Playbook

Charter Amendment on a Roll--Help us Gather Signatures

Party for Professional Policing
Wednesday, December 11 at 6:00 p.m.
The Churchill, 111 Marquette Ave S, downtown Minneapolis

Meet your neighbors, share great food, and learn about a new initiative for police accountability.

Police misconduct lawsuits have cost Minneapolis taxpayers $20 million in the last seven years.  Despite this, almost none of the officers who have cost the city so much money have been disciplined.  Community members have come up with a new strategy for ending these payouts and holding police accountable for their own conduct.
Come to this event to hear about a new initiative to require police to purchase their own professional liability (malpractice) insurance. The city could pay for the base rate of the insurance but officers would be responsible for any additional premium due to claims or complaint history.  This would make police officers directly accountable for their conduct and ease the burden on taxpayers.

We need to gather 15,000 signatures of Minneapolis registered voters to put this measure on the 2014 ballot.  Now that the weather is frosty, we're finding creative ways to do this indoors.  Join us for a house party in one of the largest downtown highrise apartment buildings. Sign the petition yourself and help us chat with downtown residents to get their signatures.  Better yet, invite your friends and family to a holiday gathering at your house and invite us to be there. 

For more information on the proposed amendment, check out Committee for Professional Policing.


Know Your Rights Training

Saturday, December 14 at 12:00 noon
4200 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis

Did you know that many people voluntarily give up their rights when dealing with police simply because they don't know their rights or how to assert them?  With the holidays in full swing and New Years just around the corner, resolve to know your rights when dealing with police and share the gift of this knowledge with others.  Join us for a training this coming Saturday to learn practical advice on interacting safely with police while asserting and maintaining your rights.

Don't have time to come to class?  Check out the videos on the Flex Your Rights website.  We use these in our training and they sum things up nicely.  They also make great holiday gits.  And if you need even more reminders, check out these videos by attorneys and police officers reminding us of why no one should never talk to cops without an attorney present.


Attorney  Basileios J. Foutris  got tired of getting phone calls from potential clients who captured footage of police misconduct only to have their cell phones take by the cops.  Even if the phones were returned, the footage was always erased.  After he got three calls like this in the same day, he decided to do something about it.  He developed an app that sends footage directly to Dropbox (without pushing buttons, etc,) for rapid permanent preservation.

The app is called Fi-Vo Film and it can be downloaded on an android or iphone and will prevent the destruction of the video.  The app is simple in execution.  By opening the app, the user is taken directly to the video function of the phone.  The phone immediately starts recording - there is no need to hit the record button.  As the video is being taken, it is being streamed live to the user's Dropbox account (the user will be directed to Dropbox to create or sync to a free Dropbox account when the app is downloaded).  If the video is deleted from the phone, or if the phone itself is destroyed, it doesn't matter - the video survives on the Dropbox account.  Unless the user provides the police with the Dropbox information (assuming the police know to ask), the video is safe.

The video can be downloaded directly from the Google or Apple app stores.  Also, a link is provided to those stores from the app's website:  www.fivofilm.com.

Keep in mind that the Oscar Grant case and many other sentinel cases only came to light because of video and cops try mightily to get their hands on that video.  Here's a great solution from a forward thinking attorney working for the community.

Local Cops Taking Page out of NSA Playbook

Do you feel like you're being watched?  The old saying "it's not paranoia if it's true" seems to fit, as local cops take up the surveillance technology and methods of the NSA.  How are they doing it?  With money, equipment and expertise provided by the Homeland Security department and the US military.

Check out this extensive report by USA Today on the Stingray program of local police scooping up your cell phone data.  As always, people should assume their phone calls, email, tweets, Facebook postings, etc. are fully available to the government and act accordingly.

This is enough to make anyone want to head out of town for a little relief.  If you do, though, be aware that if you park at the airport your car is subject to search by the TSA. Just part of getting us used to the new police state.

LIKE OUR WORK?  Be sure to "like" us on Facebook and support our work with a year-end donation.  You can donate through the CUAPB website or support our charter amendment efforts on the Committee for Professional Policing website.

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