ACLU launches apps to report police abuse
Two years ago in the aftermath of Occupy Wall Street, the American Civil Liberties Union released a mobile phone app for New Yorkers to record police stop and frisks, alert nearby users of the incident and report the situation to the ACLU of New York. The app has been downloaded more than 30,000 times in English and Spanish, on iPhone and Android. Now, after a violent police response to protests in Ferguson following the shooting of Michael Brown, the ACLU is expanding its mobile justice service.
ACLU affiliates in New Jersey, Oregon, Missouri, Mississippi and Nebraska are among those who have developed an ACLU Mobile Justice app for Android, with an iPhone version in the works.
The Mobile Justice app is intended to be a tool for anyone observing a police encounter and document instances of racial profiling, brutality and civil rights violations. The user can record and event in the app, which prompts them with follow up questions and forms a report that, with the video, is sent to the ACLU state affiliate to investigate. If the phone’s GPS is turned on, the app can connect users who are filming the same encounter. Also included is information on the user’s First Amendment right to film police activity and state laws.
The ACLU also has a mobile app in Arizona called "United Against 1070" for Latino users to report racial profiling.
While photos and video of police brutality are often shared on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, the ACLU app could help make reports more official and more likely to be brought to justice.