AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Kevin Detreville, known to his YouTube followers as DJ KDOT, can frequently be found behind the wheel of his car, listening to a police scanner, with his cellphone camera at the ready to record run-of-the-mill police stops.
“I consider myself a sparring partner to the police,” said Detreville, 35, who lives in Aurora and frequently inserts himself into Aurora and Denver police interactions, records officers and livestreaming his confrontations.
“I’m not an angry Black man. I’m just a tired Black man. Tired of being beat up, tired of seeing story after story after story of police brutality with no accountability. I’m tired of Aurora Police being bullies to our communities period. So what do you do to a bully? You stand up to a bully.”
Detreville is one of a number of so-called “copwatchers” or “First Amendment auditors” who descend on routine police stops and challenge, heckle and taunt police while simultaneously videotaping the officers.
When Aurora police made a traffic stop on April 17, Detreville showed up with his camera. According to video he put on YouTube, he told one officer, “You smell like burnt bacon and lies. I don’t work for you, you work for me servant.”
To another officer he said, “You are the servant I am your master.” And to a female officer he said, “I’m trying to school you little girl.”
Many of his interactions are far more profane and gritty. Detreville estimates he has recorded police hundreds of times in the last several years. He said he believes the camera balances out the power equation between police and citizens.
“Who’s really the threat?” he asked. “I’m just a man with a camera”.
Aurora Police Deputy Chief Darin Parker knows Detreville.
“He definitely likes to push the limits. He’s got an audience on YouTube that he is videotaping for as he goes through.”
Parker said citizens have a right to tape police, but “it’s frustrating to have someone verbally abuse you and insult you and engage in that kind of conduct when you’re simply trying to do your job.”
Parker said he is not overly concerned with copwatchers recording police stops, but is concerned when they become too aggressive and become a distraction to officers who are trying to do their jobs. Parker says there are times when backup officers have to be called in to deal with the copwatchers while other officers are trying to do their jobs.
Detreville, who is a father, and works security and DJ jobs, says he was inspired to descend on and record local police stops due to the Elijah McClain case.
“I pretty much guarantee if there were copwatchers out there he would be alive,” offered Detreville.
McClain died in August 2019 after an encounter with Aurora police and paramedics.
“It hit so close to home,” said Detreville. “It was just like, I don’t want that to be my son and I don’t want that to be anyone else’s son or daughter who looks like me.”
Detreville has been arrested twice during his copwatch activities. Once in Denver when he was recording a Denver Police substation and once when Aurora Police discovered he had a minor warrant from Denver.
“I’m making a difference,” Detreville said. “People love what I do. I’m just here to serve my community, period.”
Parker said Aurora officers are trained to deal with copwatchers and understand how to deescalate situations. He said he is concerned that indiscriminate livestreaming of police activities could put crime victims on the internet.