Legal Observer Training Manual

CONTENTS

A. ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF LEGAL OBSERVERS
What Is the Legal Observer Program? 1
Who Are Legal Observers? 1
Responsibilities of the Legal Observer 1
Legal Observer Coordinator 2
Legal Observer Dress and Actions 2
Visibility 2
Teamwork 3
Objectivity 3
Interacting with Police 3
Preparing for the Role of Legal Observer 4
On the Day of the Action 5
During the Demonstration 5
If People Are Arrested 6
Some Typical Charges Arrestees May Face 7
Be Particularly Aware of Certain Unconstitutional Police Tactics 7
“Pop-Up” Police Lines 7
Denial of Access to Public Fora 8
Intimidating Displays of Force 8
Speaking to the Media 8
Setting up a National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense/
Demonstration Committee 8
Preserving Physical Evidence 9
After the Demonstration 10
Legal Observation at Small or Local Events 10
B. ORGANIZING AND TRAINING A LEGAL OBSERVER TEAM
I. Preparations for Organizing, Training, and Deploying
Legal Observers at Large Actions
Issue a “Call for Legal Observers” on the National Lawyers
Guild Web Site 11
References 11
Form Housing Committee 11
Identify Existing or Locate Office Space 12
Organize Messengers 12
Anticipate Contingencies 12
Legal Observer Coordinators Structure 12
Legal Observer Coordinator Communications 12
Important Information to Create and Gather 12
Gathering and Using Legal Observer Data 13
Develop Trust with Activists 13
Control National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer Identifiers 13
Appoint a Media Coordinator 13
Legal Team Roles 13
To Deploy, or Not to Deploy 14

II. TRAINING
Anticipate the Need for Last-Minute Legal Observer Trainings 14
Recommend Mini-Recorders 14
Keeping Alert and Aware 14
Other Organizations Training Legal Observers 14
Using Email for Communication 15

III. DURING THE ACTION
In Deploying Legal Observers, Anticipate Problems 15
Often, the Legal Observer Coordinators Are the First to
Realize the Potential for Problems 15
“Rover” Squads 15
Be Flexible 15
Encourage Legal Observers to Submit Reports Promptly 16
Contact Information 17
APPENDICES FOR LEGAL OBSERVERS
Legal Observer Application
Confidentiality Agreement
A Quick Reference for Legal Observers
Legal Observer Field Notes Example
Legal Observer’s Arrest Sheet
Exit Form

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