ACLU Launches ‘Mobile Justice’ Android App to Aid the Public to in Recording Police Actions

Posted by at 10:14 am on April 30, 2015

Mobile JusticeThe ALCU has released a new smartphone app called ACLU Mobile Justice today Witnesses can record video of police interactions with the public or police arrests and send those videos straight to the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon for review.

“Police officers have a unique role and position within our society, and they are given extraordinary powers,” said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. “Oregonians have the right to record video of police in public places as a check to those powers.”

The ACLU here is launching the app along with affiliates in Missouri, Mississippi and Nebraska, with help from a grant from the national ACLU. It’s modeled after the New York Civil Liberties’ Union’s “Stop and Frisk Watch” phone app that was released in 2012. Since then, New York’s app has been downloaded more than 30,000 times.

Fidanque said the ACLU affiliates began developing the app before the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., this summer. It’s being distributed free for Android devices only; an iPhone version is expected early next year.

“The events in Ferguson made the need for the app even more urgent,” Fidanque said. “Over-policing, racial profiling and the excessive use of force are also a problem here in Oregon.

The Android app is intended for use by people witnessing police encounters, not by people who are the subject of a police stop.  An iPhone version is coming next year..

When interacting with law enforcement, exercise caution when attempting to use the app to document your exchange. Your safety depends on your ability to clearly communicate your actions and to remain calm.

  1. Announce that you are reaching for your phone.
  2. Announce that you are attempting to access the app to record the exchange.
  3. If the officer forbids or prevents you from doing so, do not argue or resist. Follow the officers instructions. If your rights have been violated, your attorney will argue your case later.
  4. If the officer attempts to touch your screen in an effort to destroy the evidence you’ve captured, don’t worry. The moment the recording is stopped it will automatically be sent to the ACLU of Oregon.

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