Legal Observing

Do you care about Texans’ right to free speech and safety while protesting? Become a legal observer with the ACLU of Texas.

A legal observer is a neutral third party who watches and records how law enforcement treats people exercising their First Amendment rights at an event — most commonly at marches and rallies. They are not involved in the protest and do not intervene if there is any misconduct. Instead, legal observers wear identifying vests and document the activity as evidence that could be used in court. Just letting law enforcement know they are being watched can significantly reduce the chances of illegal or inappropriate police activity toward protestors.

Getting trained as a legal observer is simple — and one of the best ways you can defend our constitutional right to protest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need training to be a legal observer?
Due to the serious nature of legal observing, training is required. You will learn about the important role that legal observers play and how to best document interactions between protestors, counter-protestors, and law enforcement.

What happens after I get trained?
Once trained, you will be added to the pool of volunteers we contact via email when we receive requests for legal observers in your area. All you have to do is let us know you’re interested and available, and your coordinator will take it from there. Legal observers are not paid.

How do I get trained?
Our trainings are free and conducted virtually via Zoom. They typically last between 60 to 90 minutes, depending on how many questions you and your fellow volunteers have. We want to make sure you understand your role and feel confident fulfilling it. To secure your spot, sign up for one of the trainings above that best fits your schedule.


Need legal observers for an event?

If you'd like to request legal observers, fill out this form. We typically require at least one week's notice, but please email us at [email protected] if you have a shorter timeline and we will try our best to accommodate.