From the Streets to the Courts

As an organization and community, Silicon Valley De-Bug and the Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project has been a part of the national movement marching in the streets demanding justice for our loved ones who have been killed by law enforcement. But the violence of the criminal justice system continues to injure people beyond the point of contact with police. If a community member survives, they invariably face a cover charge such as resisting arrest or assault on a police officer. So the movement in the streets also needs to fill the courtrooms.

The reality is that those who suffer the indignity in the hands of police are almost always charged with ‘cover charges’ by police and District Attorneys. These are loved ones who were seconds away from being almost a hashtag.

We've sat at courtrooms of loved ones who were almost a hashtag, like Lamar Noble who were beaten by law enforcement, survived, and then himself faced charges in the courts. The reality is that those who suffer the indignity in the hands of police are almost always charged with 'cover charges' by police and the District Attorneys. They are dragged and further victimized by the system to conceal the violence they suffered. These are loved ones who were seconds away from being almost a hashtag.

For us, the connection of marching in the streets to oppose police violence, and standing with the community in the courtroom to challenge mass incarceration go hand in hand. Connecting the movement from advocacy in the streets to packing courtrooms led us to creating an approach called participatory defense -- an organizing model we've developed at Silicon Valley De-Bug's Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project. Led by the very families whose loved ones are facing charges in the system, participatory defense is a community organizing model for people facing charges, their families, and communities to impact the outcome of cases and transform the landscape of power in the court system.  It is a model that has been developed in the last 8 years in San Jose, CA that is now being implemented by communities across the country.  

This site chronicles the trials of those individuals and how families, communities, and public defenders can get justice in the streets and in the courts.