The Witness Archive was created in response to the protests that erupted in the United States following the murder of George Floyd by officer Derek Chauvin. Across social media, we saw videos of police-instigated and -escalated violence, but the dominant narrative of violent protesters and looters persisted. We wanted to counter that narrative by compiling first-hand documents of police abuse and brutality in one place, as a complement to the fractured, scattered, and fast-paced dissemination of social media.
Who are you?
We are a small, volunteer-run initiative. We are not officially affiliated with any existing charities, networks or organizations, nor do we receive funding.
Isn’t this whole idea biased?
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
We do not claim to be neutral, nor do we want to be. That said, we do not editorialize our videos – we only present and describe them. This is not clickbait. The intent is for viewers to watch and see for themselves what is happening.
Why aren’t you posting videos of protestors instigating violence or behaving badly?
Police, as agents of the state, must be held to a higher standard than untrained civilians. Civilian protesters can be – and are – arrested and penalized at the will of the police. Officers are rarely held to the same level of accountability for their actions. Additional exposure is necessary to spread public consciousness of abuse by police, and build pressure on those in power to act.
I know one of the cops in a video. What should I do?
We refrain from posting the identity of any police officers featured in these videos because as a small volunteer team we do not have the resources to face any potential legal repercussions. If you know the identity of a cop being abusive in a video, please share the video and the identifying information you have with a local representative.
How can I support you?
The best way you can help The Witness Archive is by spreading awareness. This initiative is all about visibility, and for promoting a public consciousness of these abuses outside of the bubble of left-leaning social media. This means sharing directly with family, friends, and anyone else in your real-world network.
If you want to provide monetary support, please consider donating to one of these initiatives instead.
Where can I learn more?
Here are some resources to learn more about police abolition and racial justice:
What if I want to see videos of good cops?